A common question about divorce is how long the process takes from start to finish. It used to be that the most straightforward divorces (i.e. those without any complex financial or child-related issues to settle) took around 24 to 32 weeks (four to six months) to complete, the Ministry of Justice has revealed that the average time from Petition to Decree Absolute is now 59 weeks!  How does it now take more than a year?

Julie Nicholson, who has vast experience in divorce and all related matters, speaks about the serious problems that the delays are now causing each Petitioner and Respondent in divorce proceedings.  Julie has obtained the accolade of now being admitted to the Advanced Family Law Panel for her third 5 year accreditation.

Julie says: “The speed of the divorce process is dictated by the workload in regional divorce centres, which are responsible for processing the administrative aspects of divorce proceedings. Part of the reason for the delays is that it was previously the responsibility of local courts to process divorce proceedings. And as there are more local courts (such as Newcastle upon Tyne/North Shields) than divorce centres (of which there are currently 11) in England & Wales, the transfer of workload has understandably resulted in a backlog.  This is also a result of the number of local court closures throughout the country.  This has impacted directly upon the speed of the divorce process.  The nearest regional centre is Bradford.

Also, financial agreements cannot be ratified by the court until Decree Nisi has been pronounced (the average time from Petition to Decree Nisi now being 33 weeks). This of course could have further financial implications following a separation.”

Alderson Law LLP has a bespoke and focused family department, operating from our 3 branches in Whitley Bay, Blyth and Morpeth, specialising in complex divorce, children and financial claim disputes.  The emphasis is on quality and depth of advice, together with a personal interest in the outcome for each and every client.

With all this in mind, it’s important to seek legal advice for divorce and related children and/or financial issues sooner rather than later. If you’d like more information or advice, please contact julienicholson@aldersonlaw.co.uk, our accredited Advanced Family Law Panellist.

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East to study Law at Northumbria, graduating with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Before joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm.

She joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal in 2018, after which she undertook the Legal Practice Course at the University of Sunderland and became a Trainee Solicitor in March 2020. In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach and watching live music.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Anderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family, his faithful sprocket spaniel, and practising Tai Chi and Tang Too Do (Korean karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blythe offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.