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Good Divorce Week

COURT BACKLOGS RUINING LIVES SAYS HUMPHRIES KIRK

| Published on November 29, 2022

We are running free initial consultations during Good Divorce Week

  • Kay Levene, Partner at Humphries Kirk, 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
  • Humphries Kirk is offering free initial consultations to local people during Good Divorce Week to promote the benefits of early intervention in family matters*.

Humphries Kirk, a Dorset and Somerset based law firm is 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 child 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

Kay said: “Backlogs are wreaking havoc on local families. 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 child 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 initial consultations during Good Divorce Week so families get the benefit of early professional advice*. Seeking legal advice from one of our expert family law solicitors can make all the difference by empowering you to make informed decisions, as well as giving you peace of mind on your rights and what costs may be involved. Visit hklw.uk to find out more, or call 01202 421111, or 01460 279100 to book your free consultation*.”

*Appointments for free initial consultations must be booked by 9th December. Please quote code “Resolution” when booking an appointment.

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 Humphries Kirk are doing their best to help families achieve better outcomes and find long-lasting resolutions.”

NOTES:

1. Humphries Kirk Solicitors is a Dorset and Somerset based legal firm with 8 offices across the counties – www.hklaw.uk.
2. Resolution is a membership association of 6,500 family justice professionals promoting a non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues and campaigning for a fairer family justice system.
3. Resolution members commit to a Code of Practice that promotes a constructive approach to family issues and considers the needs of the whole family, in particular the best interests of children.

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