A pilot scheme has been rolled out in the South West Regional Divorce Centre in Southampton on 2 May 2017 in relation to the 'de-linking' of financial remedy applications from divorce proceedings.
The president of the Family Division and deputy chief executive of HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have written to the judiciary to inform them of the improvements to services to services that this scheme will produced.
This follows the lead from the centralisation of divorce and dissolution proceedings into 11 specialist divorce centres. It is accepted that there have been some issues following implementation; however we have been promised a much improved and standardised service.
How do financial proceedings from divorce work at the moment?
Currently, if you need to apply to the court to resolve your financial disputes with your spouse you will apply to the divorce Centre dealing with the divorce proceedings - for example, South West Regional Divorce Centre - and then the proceedings are transferred to your local court for the financial proceedings to be dealt with. Unfortunately, this has caused significant delays to many divorce and financial remedy proceedings due to the administrative burden put on each divorce centre.
How will the pilot scheme work?
The administrative delinking of the financial side of the proceedings from the main divorce will allow the local court to deal with the financial remedy proceedings on an independent basis for the contested financial proceedings. This is done to avoid the administrative task of transferring the proceedings. It is therefore hoped that any delays will be minimised in order for application for financial remedy to be dealt with more swiftly.
Note that if you wish to send to the court a financial order which is agreed this will still be dealt with at the divorce centre as there is no need to transfer the proceedings because you agree to a final order.
If the pilot is a success the process is expected to be rolled out to all the courts in England and Wales in June 2017.
If you should have any questions about whether you need to apply to the court for financial relief please do not hesitate to contact our specialist, Zoe Porter.