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Separating Couples ‘Must Not Forget Benefits Of Mediation’

MoJ Figures Reveal ‘Divorce Hotspots’ In England And Wales


Family law specialists have backed calls from the Ministry of Justice for separating couples to place an emphasis on mediation, following the release of new figures which have revealed the divorce ‘hot-spots’ across England and Wales.

The research published by the MoJ has revealed that Birmingham’s Civil Justice Centre and Family Courts received the highest number of divorce petitions between October 2011 to September 2012, with 2,799 couples in the city starting court proceedings.

Other places where a high number of petitions were filed included the county courts in Weston-super-Mare (2,437), Leicester (1,831) and Romford (1,783), as well as Coventry Combined Court Centre (1,776).

Following the release of the figures, Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Family Law team have echoed calls from the MoJ and Family Justice Minister Lord McNally for to remind couples that just because a divorce petition has been filed, all the issues between them do not have to be resolved through by court.

John Nicholson, a Partner and family law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, said: “These figures are very eye-opening and highlight the vast number of people who may feel they have little choice but to endure time-consuming and stressful court battles in order to finalise differences between them on a separation.

“Divorce is a undoubtedly stressful for everyone involved – including children –  which is why we would always urge people to carefully consider other options before committing to going all the way to court in order to ensure their needs are met.

“One such option is mediation, where both parties are able to sit down together with trained and qualified mediators to work out thoughtfully and with the minimum of rancour how the most important issues can be handled – such as contact between children and both their parents, as well as finances.

“A constructive approach like this will often takes much of the stress out of the process, while it also means people can also avoid long drawn-out (and expensive) battles like those seen in the courts.

John added: “We would urge those thinking about a fresh start to carefully think about their approach to divorce and not see this research and think that there is no alternative to court. There are a number of options and we urge those intending to separate to speak to a legal expert for more information.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Divorce and Family Law.