Financial Remedy And Domestic Abuse Cases On The Rise
The quarterly statistics reported a seven per cent increase in overall cases in January to March 2021, with 71,707 new cases in the family courts during that quarter. There was a small increase in the number of divorce petitions, up two per cent from last year, while decree absolutes granted were around the same.
Notably out of the new cases, financial remedy cases were up by a massive 29 per cent. Family law and divorce experts at leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell say the upsurge in these types of cases is significant – and is adding to the strain the family courts are under.
Expert Opinion“The figures for the increase in divorce petitions need to be taken with a pinch of salt – the pandemic isn’t necessarily causative of an increase in divorces.
“The two per cent increase in divorce petitions is relatively small, and we need to bear in mind that some clients may have struggled to get access to legal advice in the depths of the pandemic, leaving a backlog for the courts to handle.
“However, the big increase in financial remedy applications is significant. The strain on our courts is only increasing, and the delays which this causes can be so damaging for all involved.
“What these figures really show for clients is why it is important to take early advice and explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration, mediation and collaborative law, which could help them to find a way forward without involving the courts.” Connie Smith - Associate Solicitor
There was also an increase in domestic violence remedy order applications, increasing 12 per cent over the same quarter last year. The number of orders made increased by 13 per cent in the same quarter.
The sad upturn in cases may be down to the increased pressures of multiple lockdowns, according to Family Law specialists.
Connie added: “It’s sad to see an increase in domestic violence remedy applications and orders being made.
“It’s unlikely that the Domestic Abuse Act impacted upon levels of reporting; unfortunately the likely reality is that there’s been an increase in domestic violence, resulting from many victims being trapped at home with their partners due to Covid-19, reduced access to services to support victims, and the effect of economic disruption.”