Since 2018, Litigants in Person (people who do not have legal representation) and 100 law firms have been able to complete their divorce applications online.
This was part of a pilot scheme that was launched. HMCTS has now extended the pilot scheme so that all legal practitioners are now able to complete the divorce process online.
The online Divorce Petitions will be dealt with by Stoke-on-Trent and the hope is that as the process becomes increasingly automated, the time it takes to process the applications should therefore be reduced. In June 2019, the Law Society Gazette published an article that estimated that the average divorce was now taking 59 weeks to process, even in amicable circumstances.
At Barrett & Co, we are already in the process of setting up our online account.
What does this mean for our clients?
As a result of the Divorce Application being completed online the form will be a lot shorter when completed because the form will only include the relevant information that is included in each individual divorce petition. Currently, the paper divorce petition has to include all the relevant five facts for a divorce, whereas the online version would only include the fact that the petitioner has used. This should also make it easier for the Respondent to read.
The Law Society has provided a sample of the online divorce Petition and a sample of a response.
As the divorce process currently remains a three stage process, a Judge will still need to consider the Divorce Petition and grant the Decree Nisi and Decree Absolute.
As stated above, hopefully the processing times of documentation will be reduced which should in turn decrease the time it takes to obtain Decree Absolute.
What happens if you have submitted your Divorce Petition by post rather than online?
We are still able to submit Divorce Petitions by post and these will be considered by the remaining divorce centres. There are some circumstances where we might not be able to submit your Divorce Petition online, we will be able to advise you if this is the case in relation to your matter.
If you would like further information on the divorce process, please contact our Family Department on 0118 958 9711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a one-hour confidential fixed fee meeting at our Reading office for £95 including VAT.