Can I still make a financial application to the Court during lockdown?
- AuthorElla Dodgson
As people still get to grips with the ‘new normal’ of working from home, it isn’t really any different for solicitors, barristers and judges who are setting up domestic courtrooms in dining rooms and living rooms up and down the country. The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, recently issued guidance the Courts are to ‘keep business going safely’ during the pandemic.
It is, therefore, business as usual for the Family Courts, just in a very different and remote format. Solicitors are therefore still taking instructions to issue financial applications and the Court are still issuing those applications.
That being said, prior to the pandemic the Courts were already suffering from backlogs and delays. This is often put down to reduced staffing and Divorce Centres being consolidated. However, the delays are likely to be frustrated further by the pandemic. If you are considering making an application to the Court then it may be advisable to lodge your application sooner rather than later.
Once an application has been issued, the Court will set a timetable for financial disclosure and the exchange of documents before the First Appointment, the initial hearing. The First Appointment is between 12 and 16 weeks from the date of the proceedings being issued. It is hoped by the time of the First Appointment that we will no longer be working in the current conditions. However, the Family Department at Harrowells is keeping up to date with the Family Courts guidance as it is issued and will be able to advise you of any updates and guide you through the proceedings.
Should you require assistance in respect of financial applications during this time please contact our Family Law team who will be able to advise on your individual circumstances.