Anita Shepherd – head of the Family department – on the centralisation of Divorce cases.

It is fair to say that many family practitioners will be apprehensive about the development that all divorces for the North West of England are to be issued in Liverpool Family Court.

Where a divorce is undefended (agreed), the proceedings will remain at Liverpool but will be transferred to the parties’ local court in the event that a court hearing is required.

This is being rolled out across the country where there will be 11 divorce centres which will be ‘points of entry’ for issuing divorce petitions and matrimonial financial applications.

Since 9th February, Liverpool Family Court have been issuing divorce petitions for the Greater Manchester Area (Altrincham, Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Stockport, Tameside and Wigan) and Davis Blank Furniss can report that the service appears efficient. If this continues, it will hopefully result in family law practitioners gaining confidence in the changes and being able to provide divorcing couples with realistic timescales for completing a divorce. This in turn will hopefully minimise the stress of this process for the families involved.

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