A huge amount of statistical data is constantly being published in most fields of work, and family law is certainly no exception.
I will briefly look at only a few of the significant statistics released over the year, as I am more than aware that, along with Mark Twain, these kind of numbers are not most people’s favourite thing in the world!
The Office for National Statistics shows that cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing and now second largest family type, totalling around 3.3 million families. If you are within this group, it is certainly worth you becoming more informed about your rights and how they compare to married couples. A relatively new and developing option under the law which you may wish to consider is the use of cohabitation agreements. More information about these can be found here.
More cases in the court
Government statistics for July to September 2017 stated that there are 2% more cases beginning in family courts than the same period in 2016. These cases are also taking longer to deal with, an average of 28 weeks, which is a week longer than in 2016. This is the case despite significant efforts to reduce the average timescale of family matters in court, which would seem to indicate that cases are only going to take longer to conclude as we move forward.
Domestic violence and Legal aid
There has also been a notable increase in the number of domestic violence remedy orders, 13% more in 2017 than the same period in 2016. When you factor in that a shocking 11% of women aged 16 – 19 say they experienced domestic abuse in the year leading up to March 2017, it is clear that this is a major and ever-growing problem in our society. Furthermore, since cuts to legal aid in 2012 the number of domestic violence victims who have had to represent themselves in court has more than doubled, from 1309 in 2012 to 3234 in the first nine months of 2017.
For those with concerns over their entitlement to legal aid and their ability to fund a case if they were found ineligible, we have considered this in a previous blog, and you could also utilise our free Family Law Clinic service for some initial advice.
To speak to a specialist family lawyer in Blackburn, Burnley, Preston and across Lancashire and the North West, please call 0845 287 0939 or contact us through our online enquiry form.