Latest Family Court Statistics: Is ADR Working?

30th March 2017 Family Law

The latest family court statistics from the Ministry of Justice throw up some interesting trends.

Despite the government's push and an increased focus on alternative methods of resolving family disputes, for example through mediation and collaborative law, the figures for 2016 show that divorcing couples still favour the traditional route of court proceedings to settle financial and property matters.

Applications to the courts rose by 10 per cent compared with the two previous years. In fact, the number of financial applications to the courts has steadily risen in that period. The trend is clearly upwards and shows no sign of abating.

It may be that divorcing couples are less confident about newer forms of dispute resolution such as arbitration.

This could also reflect the attitude of their solicitors, who may be less likely to recommend these methods.

Various options are available to people going through a divorce, yet the statistics show that the tried and tested route of court proceedings is the preferred option.

Looking at the figures for the types of financial orders made by the courts, more than half of those between October and December last year were lump sum and property adjustment orders. The figure for periodical payments orders spousal maintenance were much lower.

This shows the courts' continued focus on ending financial ties between the parties after divorce. They are clearly putting into action the objective under matrimonial law to bring about a clean break between the parties as soon as possible.

The emphasis is on putting both parties in a position of financial independence, rather than providing one spouse with a 'meal ticket for life'.


To discuss divorce or alternative dispute resolution with our team please do not hesitate to get in contact. The full report can be found here.


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Jenny Arnold is a Partner located in Manchesterin our Family department

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