The Government has begun the process of centralising divorce applications in 20 locations across England & Wales to assist the courts to combat divorce fraud.
Each divorce court centre will act as a single point of entry for divorce and financial remedy applications. It may be that the actual hearings take place at more local divorce and family courts.
One of the reasons for this was because of an extraordinary case in September where the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, set aside a total of £180 divorce petitions from Italian couples. Those divorces had been issued fraudulently from Italy in 137 different family courts across England & Wales.
We blogged about that case which can be seen here.
3 divorce centres are now operational in the North East; and the North West divorce centres are expected to be decided by the start of next week.
The idea is that to centralise the handling of divorce petitions at 20 divorce courts should help to combat fraud but given the sheer volume of divorces, it is unlikely that this alone would be enough to prevent divorce fraud completely.
The creation and the centralisation of the family courts which can now be seen as single points of entry will also bring into line the recent changes with the single family court which was created earlier this year and our blog on that can be seen here.