Are the divorce centres in England and Wales overloaded?

divorce centres

Has the new government facility to apply for a divorce petition via their website caused a massive increase in divorce applications?

Or perhaps the divorce centres are still understaffed.  Whatever the reason, the 11 divorce centres in England and Wales are way behind processing divorce petitions.  As of 24th September 2018, the following divorce centres were reporting backlogs as follows:

London & South East Divorce Centre: 12 days behind

East Midland Divorce Service: 35 days behind

West Midland Divorce Service: 45 days behind

South West Divorce Service: 15 days behind

These figures are for the processing of divorce petitions, there are similar delays for processing fees, processing decree nisi, processing acknowledgement of services and decree absolutes.  This extends the total time to process a simple divorce from 4-5 months to approximately 6-9 months.  A complicated divorce can take much longer.

Click and Split

The government “Click and Split” service does not give you the choice to which centre to apply to. The online system seems to rotate around the divorce centres.  So given the delays above, a divorce can take anywhere between 13 and 46 days for the petition to get processed.

Recent reports have stated that the divorce rate for newly-weds is now at a 25 year low.  Divorce rates peaked in 1993, but since then have been dropping for couples married for less than 10 years.  However, divorce rates for over 50s are continuing to rise.

The 11 divorce centres were launched in 2015 to streamline the divorce process.  Instead of having divorces handled by the 110 divorce county courts spread around England and Wales, all divorces are now handled by the new divorce centres. The main aim was to save costs, using the economies of scale. Divorces are now processed like a production line as part of the £1 billion investment by the government to modernise the court system.

Since its trial and release in May 2018, the government online divorce service has processed 12000 petitions. The service claims that there has been a 95% drop in returned applications due to mistakes. Perhaps, the divorce centres underestimated the number of divorce applications. They then failed to employ enough people to cope with the increased workload.


If you would like to know how to get the quickest divorce possible, then contact us on 0800 177 7702

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Are the divorce centres in England and Wales overloaded? was last modified: October 4th, 2019 by Carol Sullivan

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