Until now, cases about the financial side of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution have been decided by District Judges with a variety of expertise, not always in matrimonial finances. This has led to frustration being expressed by the judges as well as the parties involved; a great deal of preparation is often undertaken in the lead up to a hearing and, particularly for those involving complex and high net worth assets, it can be unnerving for a case to be dealt with by someone with limited knowledge of that area of law.
As from February 2018, new Financial Remedies Courts (FRCs) are to be piloted in London, the West Midlands and South East Wales. The idea behind this new venture is to ensure that financial cases are heard by judges with specialism in this area, leading to more consistency in their approach and therefore in the outcome.
Already, new cases nationwide have the divorce itself dealt with in regional centres, freeing up local judges to focus on financial and children issues. In the longer term, by having a more consistent approach through the FRCs, it is also hoped that parties and their lawyers will be more confident of the likely outcome which, in turn, will encourage earlier settlements being agreed.
This is just the start of a number of changes being considered for the family courts and, hopefully, a more consistent and efficient service for the parties involved and their lawyers.
If we can help with any family law matter, please do contact us on 01730 268211 (Petersfield office) or 01730 816711 (Midhurst office).