Family Law Hub

Separated parents using family courts in England are more likely to live in deprived areas, and rates of court applications are higher in the north

Separated parents in England who depend on the family courts to resolve private disputes over child arrangements are likely to live in the country’s most deprived areas, according to a new research report. The study also reveals a clear north-south divide in the number of private law applications being made, with rates being consistently highest in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions, and consistently lowest in London and the South East.

  • When parents who have separated cannot agree on issues such as where their child or children should live, or who they should have contact with, they can apply for a court order to settle the dispute through a family court.

    While the overall rate of families going to court in England is low – less than three-quarters of one per cent of all families made a private law application in 2019/20 – they affect many more children than public law cases, where a local authority intervenes to protect a child at risk of harm. More than twice as many private law applications are started in England and Wales each year than public law ones (54,930 compared to 18,393 in 2019, respectively).

    Read more: Nuffield Family Justice Observatory 

News, published: 15/02/2021


Published: 15/02/2021

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