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HomeFamily LawThe Rise of The Digital Divorce

Married couples will soon be able to apply for divorce online as part of a £1bn change to the justice system.

The Ministry of Justice said the scheme, which was being tested at three sites in the UK, would be rolled out across the country to enable all uncontested divorces to be conducted using an online application process; following a 10 month pilot in Nottingham.

A “smart form”, which tailors questions based on the circumstances of the marriage breakdown, will further the Ministry of Justice’s aim to save £250m via a reduction in paperwork and processing time.

A spokeswoman for HM Courts and Tribunals Service said: “We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1bn to reform and enhance our courts to deliver swifter justice.

“We have launched the first divorce application services online at three sites and will be extending the testing over the coming months. These measures will simplify the process for divorce applicants and help progress applications quickly.”

Currently, those seeking a divorce must fill out paper forms and send them into Court for consideration. Applicants must submit a petition which is served to their spouse, who must agree to the divorce by signing the document or state their reasons for contesting. They must also provide documents including marriage certificate, financial agreements and reasons for divorce.

The reasons for the marriage ending have to be set out and agreed before a decree nisi is granted, while a decree absolute can be issued six weeks and one day later, which when granted, will legally bring an end to the marriage.

Sir James Mumby, the head of the family division of the high court, said earlier this year that changes to the court system would see processes such as divorce become “entirely digitised” in “a visionary programme of ambition unprecedented anywhere in the world”.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? However, it remains just as important to seek legal advice; even if you intend to proceed yourself and act in person. There are pitfalls and potential points of unnecessary conflict that can be easily avoided.

Should you require any assistance; contact our Family Department today on 01706 628 008.