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Family Law

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28 MAR 2014

MOJ reveals top ten divorce courts - couples urged to pursue mediation

Journals Manager & Online Editor


Courts in Birmingham, Weston-Super-Mare and Coventry head the list, followed by Romford, Leicester and Bristol as well as Norwich, Leeds, Chelmsford and Manchester.

In light of these figures Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes has called on parents and couples who have made the difficult decision to divorce to use mediation to sort out disputes over their property, finances and children, rather than face the stressful experience of going to court.

He said people can now use the new Family Mediation Council website to find a local mediator to help them.

Family Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:

'Mediation works in helping to sort out disputes over finances and children. We are committed to making sure that more people make use of it rather than go through the confrontational and stressful experience of going to court.

These figures show thousands of people are sadly still divorcing each year. We want them to do it in the least damaging way for everyone involved, especially children. That is why we want them to use the excellent mediation services available to agree a way forward, rather than have one forced upon them in the courts.'

Mediation uses negotiations to reach agreements which both people are prepared to live with, rather than having them dictated by the court. It is led by a trained and certified mediator and couples can ask a court to consider and make their agreement into a legally binding and enforceable court order.

According to the Government, it has introduced major changes in the Children and Families Act that makes sure separating parents and couples have to first consider using mediation to resolve the issues around divorce and separation - like splitting finances and property or agreeing child contact times - rather than fighting over it in court.

The new law, which comes into effect on 22 April 2014, changes the process so that a person who wants to apply for a court order about a children or financial matter must first attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). Exemptions from this requirement will apply, such as where there is evidence of domestic violence.

The courts where the most divorce petitions were:


Divorce petitions 2013

Birmingham Civil Justice Centre and Family Courts


Weston-super-mare County Court*


Coventry Combined Court Centre


Romford County Court


Leicester County Court


Bristol County Court


Norwich Combined Court Centre


Leeds Combined Court Centre


Chelmsford County Court


Manchester County Court


*The vast majority of petitions for Weston-super-Mare come from online petitions    

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