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Financial details of divorce to be heard in new courts

Member: Nifa

The head of the family court, Sir James Munby, has said that divorce battles among the super wealthy will be heard in separate courts from February next year, making the system quicker and more efficient. These financial remedies courts will allow cases where there are disputes over money to be heard separately from more common cases that do not involve disputes over assets and finance.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that the average number of weeks it takes for a case to get to a decree absolute has risen from 42 weeks in 2006 to almost 49 weeks last year. The shift has been prompted by administrative delays, which the courts have tried to resolve by centralising the system in divorce centres.

The courts began this process in 2014 and between then and 2015, 11 of these new courts were created.

The new system will mean that cases involving financial disputes can be heard by judges who are experts in the field, thereby reducing the length of time required. They will be piloted in London, the West Midlands and South-East Wales, and there are plans to roll it out further after that.

Disputed divorces that centre on finances sometimes consider whether one spouse or another has been honest in disclosing his or her assets and whether the split of assets is appropriate. Divorcing coupleswill often employ a forensic accountant to value family businesses, to provide advice on how to split assets tax efficiently and to ensure that there has been a full and frank financial disclosure.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 11 December 2017

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