Before 19th June 2017 if you were looking to issue divorce proceedings, any financial applications (where financial matters required the Court’s involvement) would have had to be sought within the divorce proceedings. This would be received by the Court and a case reference for the whole proceedings would be given.
However now the divorce proceedings and the financial proceedings have been ‘administratively separated’ in order to save solicitors many weeks of delay and streamline the divorce process.
In 2015 11 specialist divorce centres were created which dealt with all divorce and financial proceedings where there is a dispute between the parties which requires a Court application be made. The financial part of the divorce would then be transferred back to a Court more local to the petitioner and therefore the whole file would then be sent to the local Court.
Under the new system, which had been piloted in Southampton earlier this year, the main divorce proceedings are to remain at the specialist divorce centre and the financial proceedings are worked on independently at the local Court. A separate file will be created at the local Court in relation to the finances following such an application being made, but will still have the same case reference as the divorce file at the specialist divorce centre.
Family law group Resolution have welcomed the news and explained that ‘any steps that reduce delay and make the administration of family proceedings more efficient must be encouraged. This is just one example of how quite simple changes can make a difference in practice’.
However it has been reiterated that while only a limited amount of divorce proceedings lead to Court applications being made in relation to financial matters, parties need to be made aware at the beginning of the divorce process of the implications of not resolving the financial aspect at the time and the consequences of leaving it unresolved.
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