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Average time for completing divorce increases by seven weeks over last year

Family court statistics published for July to September 2018

The average time for completing a divorce has increased by seven weeks over the course of the last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Justice. The latest data show that the time taken, on average, from petition to Decree Nisi was 31 weeks and to Decree Absolute was 56 weeks, both up seven weeks compared to the equivalent quarter 2017.

In July to September 2018, 66,118 new cases started in Family courts, up 1% on the equivalent quarter in 2017. This was driven by an 7% rise in matrimonial cases started. However, there were decreases in new financial remedy (9%), public law (5%), domestic violence (4%), and adoption (4%) cases started.

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal was 30 weeks in July to September 2018, more than two weeks up from the same quarter in 2017 but level with last quarter's results. 52% of cases were disposed of within 26 weeks – down 7 percentage points over the same period for 2017.

The number of domestic violence remedy order applications decreased by 5% compared to the equivalent quarter in 2017, which had seen higher than usual volumes. The number of orders made decreased by 1% over the same period.

The number of adoption applications and orders continues a downward trend. In July to September 2018, there were 1,243 adoption applications, down 10% on the equivalent quarter in 2017. Similarly, over the same period the number of adoption orders issued decreased 11% to 1,169.

There were 1,126 applications relating to deprivation of liberty in July to September 2018, up 5% on the equivalent quarter in 2017. Deprivation of liberty orders were up 7% over the same period.

For the latest statistics, click here.