Centralised Divorce Units

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is currently setting up a network of centralised divorce units across England and Wales. These units (divorce centres) will usually be the only ‘point of entry’ into the Single Family Court for divorce petitions and financial remedy applications. It will however still be possible to issue urgent applications at local Courts.

The divorce centre for the West Midlands will be at Stoke-on-Trent. From 16th February 2015 all new divorce petitions which previously would have been issued in Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford, Telford, Hereford and Worcester Family Courts, will have to be sent to the West Midlands Unit.  

Also after 16th February 2015 any applications for financial remedies (including consent applications) associated with newly issued divorce proceedings will have to be sent to the West Midlands Unit.

Eventually over the next few months divorce issue work for the remaining Family Courts in the West Midlands region will be transferred to the divorce centre at Stoke-on-Trent.

The divorce centre will not have public counters but will be contactable by email. Telephone numbers are to be confirmed at a later date.

The divorce centres are ‘points of entry’ into the Single Family Court for divorce and financial remedy applications. Hearings, however, are likely to be held at courts local to where the parties live, or at a more central location where the parties live in different areas of the Country.

The procedure itself for uncontested divorces will remain the same. All undefended petitions will be dealt with by legal advisers on site at the divorce centre who will prepare the case for initial Decree Nisi consideration. Legal advisers will be supervised by District Judges on site. District Judges will handle any contested applications, annulments and judicial separation applications. Legal advisers will not handle any financial remedy cases.

There are no changes to the current arrangements for ‘points of entry’ for public and private law children applications, which will continue to be issued by the local Designated Family Court.

For further information or advice on any family related matters please contact one of our specialist solicitors below:

John Shurvinton (Hereford office) jshurvinton@gabbs.biz 

Manminder Chhoker (Hereford office) mchhoker@gabbs.biz 

Anne Vincent (Leominster office) avincent@gabbs.biz 

Carolyn Theobald (Hay on Wye office) ctheobald@gabbs.biz


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