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The UK’s biggest divorce centre hit by delays

07 March 2019

Sharon McKie

divorce centre

The country’s biggest regional divorce centre reached ground-breaking levels in 2018, meaning there were extravagant delays for divorces to go through.

Bury St Edmunds is the main centre for divorces from London and the south-east.

The average waiting times for each stage of the divorce process at Bury St Edmunds increased significantly last year, making lawyers’ long-held nightmares about the centre’s ability to cope, turn into a reality.

Figures provided by HM Courts & Tribunals Service revealed how it took 373 days on average from the issue of petition, to decree absolute in 2018.

This was a 9% increase from 2017.

The eight-day wait for issuing the petition has more than doubled in a year, while the average time from issuing of petition to decree nisi has increased 17% to an average of 195 days.

The struggles of Bury St Edmunds highlight concerns of many practitioners about relying on administrative centres that may be under-staffed and over-burdened.

Bradford Family court is in fact set to close in the near future, and petitions will have to be lodged in Stoke for the Doncaster and Sheffield area - this could lead to delays for South Yorkshire too.


If you have an enquiry about divorce or separation, or any family matters, please do not hesitate to contact Taylor Bracewell’s family team:

Sharon McKie, Head of family law on 01302 965814, or you can email Sharon at