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The Changing Divorce Process
In order to streamline the Family Court service, HM Courts and Tribunals Service have taken the decision to create 11 divorce centres within England and Wales. Some divorce centres are already operational and the transfer of work is being phased with the aim that all divorce centres will be fully operational by October 2015.
No longer will individuals or practitioners need to file the petition or financial application at their local court; instead the forms will be sent by post to one of the regional centres with the exception of urgent applications that require immediate issue. These urgent applications will still be able to be made in a local hearing centre.
The centres will serve as the entry points into the Family Court. If a hearing is needed this will be listed at a hearing centre local to the parties or in a central location if the parties live some distance from each other. There will be provision for the parties to indicate their preferred hearing centre.
Legal advisers will now be able to deal with the majority of routine decree nisi applications freeing up judicial time for other matters. It is also hoped that applications will be dealt with more promptly, efficiently and with greater consistency. District Judges will be based in the divorce centres to give directions in contested cases and will consider consented financial remedy applications.
The Divorce Centre for London and the South East will be at Bury St Edmunds.