Good Divorce Week – Court backlog is ruining lives

  • Forrester Sylvester Mackett is supporting Resolution’s Good Divorce Week which is highlighting why the Government must support better advice for separating families
  • Exclusive research from Resolution lays bare the human suffering and cost caused by family court delays
  • Forrester Sylvester Mackett is offering free advice sessions to local people during Good Divorce Week to promote the benefits of early intervention in family matters.

We are supporting Good Divorce Week (28 Nov – 2 Dec), an annual awareness campaign run by Resolution, an organisation that represents over 6500 family professionals, which helps people find a better way to divorce.

Divorces are on the increase again with the most recent statistics showing 113,000 divorces in 2021 – up nearly 10% on the previous year – and the impact on wait times is stark. On average it now takes 52 weeks to conclude divorce proceedings.

In addition, official figures show that while private children cases were down by 7% during the last year, they are taking on average six weeks longer to reach a conclusion. And estimates suggest it takes nearly two years to resolve financial matters.

That leaves many families in limbo for over a year. That has a knock-on effect on children’s schooling and family finances.

Resolution surveyed its members on the current court backlogs and found:

  • 20% said court delays caused clients to rely on benefits
  • 34% said they’d referred a client to a counsellor or therapist to help them cope with the stress of ongoing court delays
  • 90% said court backlogs were causing additional and unnecessary stress and pressure for clients

Head of Family Department, Lucy Buttle said: “Backlogs are wreaking havoc on local families in Wiltshire and Somerset. Even couples who want to separate amicably are having their patience and their continued relationship tested to breaking point by long delays. When it comes to sorting out children arrangements and finances after divorce, the situation is even bleaker.

“Children are waiting nearly a year for the courts to determine which parent they live with, what school they go to, how much time they spend with the other parent – putting the whole family’s life on hold. This is simply unacceptable and another reason why getting early professional advice is so important for families.

“We are proud to be offering 30-minute free advice sessions during Good Divorce Week so families get the benefit of early professional advice.”

Juliet Harvey, national chair of Resolution, said: “Under resourcing the family courts system is a false economy inflicting unnecessary pressure on the public purse and unconscionable stress on families at an already stressful time in their lives. A study of the impact of funding legal advice in Scotland found that, every £1 spent by government on legal aid in family cases saw a return of around £5 elsewhere.

“If the government were to focus more on encouraging early advice for separating couples and including information about all out of court options it could ease the pressure on family courts. Resolution members like Forrester Sylvester Mackett are doing their best to help families achieve better outcomes and find long-lasting resolutions.”

 

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Like this article? Share it!
Menu