‘How long will my divorce take?’
One of the first questions that arises when clients consult us for a divorce is ‘how long will it take?’ Several years ago the government established the single family court, a national court represented by courts based in various localities throughout the UK. In the south-east it was decided that all divorce petitions must be issued out of Bury St Edmunds Court. This included those for Londoners. Naturally this created an enormous workload for a small court. A huge backlog arose and whilst staffing numbers were sorted out an unprecedented delay in issuing petitions occurred.
It can still sometimes take four to six weeks for paperwork to be dealt with by the court and, as there is no direct access on the telephone to court staff, switchboard operators answering enquiries can only tell enquirers what is evident from their screens. Therefore parties wanting to be divorced should really brace themselves for six to nine months to conclusion.
Nicola Furmston is a solicitor and head of the Family team at Barker Gotelee.