The family court statistics for the first half of this year have now been published and there continues to be an increase in the number of cases started in the family courts, when compared with the same period in 2020 (up 7% and 14% for the first two quarters).
The most notable increase is seen in the number of applications made for a financial remedy, which rose by 29% from January to March 2021 and by a whopping 76% from April to June 2021, when compared with the same quarters in 2020.
While the statistics also show a general upward trend in divorce petitions, albeit a relatively modest one with an increase of just 2% and 7% in the first and second quarters of 2021 when compared with 2020, they indicate a considerable jump in financial remedy cases. This is perhaps unsurprising, as we are making comparisons with the period that covered the start of the first lockdown in the UK. At that time, applications for a financial remedy decreased by 30% when compared with the same period in 2019.
The fall in applications last year followed by their recent jump reflects the financial uncertainly that many separating couples experienced during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was unclear what the economic effects of Covid would be. Consequently, couples who may have decided to postpone initiating financial remedy proceedings in the early stages of the pandemic clearly now feel more confident about initiating financial remedy proceedings. As the country continues to recover, or rather, adjust to the new normal, it will be interesting to see whether there is a levelling out of applications or whether the much discussed wave of pandemic related divorce petitions ever materialises!