Families are urged to avoid lengthy courtroom battles

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MORE than 1,300 couples took their divorce to the law courts in Portsmouth, it has been revealed.

Figures provided by the Ministry of Justice show that 1,338 couples filed for divorce at Portsmouth Combined Court Centre last year.

This compared with 1,241 in Southampton, 320 on the Isle of Wight and 243 at the courtrooms in Winchester.

Portsmouth was not in the top 10 for the highest number of divorce proceedings taken to court, however.

Outside London, Birmingham topped the list with 2,799 cases, followed by Weston-super-Mare with 2,437.

The statistics have been published as the Ministry of Justice urges people to consider mediation – a quicker and simpler way of agreeing how they divide their assets or make arrangements for their children which avoids the often divisive effect of the courtroom.

Family Justice Minister Lord McNally said: ‘All too often I hear stories of families going through expensive and traumatic court hearings but we know that when working out how to split assets and arrange time with the children, mediation is a far simpler and cheaper approach for everyone and leads to better outcomes.

‘That is why we are changing the law so that all couples seeking a court order about child contact or a financial matter must attend a mediation information assessment meeting first, to find out about mediation and consider whether it is suitable for them.’