Unless there is an urgent reason to issue at the counter, Divorce petitions should be sent by post to one of the new centres. For my clients, based on their home addresses, that tends to be Bury St Edmunds or Southampton. Uncontested petitions will be considered by a legal adviser at the centre. District Judges (DJs) will handle contested applications, annulments and judicial separation applications. Legal advisers will not handle financial remedy cases.
The centres only act as points of entry. Hearings can take place elsewhere. I have had to reassure a number of clients about this who were concerned they might have to make a trip to Bury St Edmunds. If an application in relation to a financial remedy needs a hearing, it is possible to say where you want the hearing to take place e.g. in Guildford. Financial remedy consent applications are expected to be handled by DJs on site at the divorce centres. This is no different from now in the majority of the cases I handle. It’s what many of us refer to as the DJs ‘box work’ i.e. paper applications by consent.
Where there is a reason to issue an application urgently, all family court venues with DJs on site will continue to accept and issue such applications.