• Rose & Rose

Digital Divorce Process FAQs

Updated: Nov 17

Getting divorced moved a step closer to becoming a paper-free process when the HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s digital portal become mandatory for new divorce applications on September 13th 2021.

The digital divorce process allows for the divorce process itself to be dealt with through an online portal with the court, instead of paper applications and the post. This is the process to legally bring the marriage to an end.

Even though the process is now mandatory, it has already been around for some time. The digital service was introduced back in 2018 as part of the government’s £1bn courts reform programme and The Law Society reported that more than 150,000 divorce applications have been processed through this portal.

HMCTS said the digital process helped the agency to finalise divorces in an average of 20 weeks compared with around 60 weeks for paper applications. Staff are returning fewer than 1% of online applications, compared with around 20% of paper applications, for legal representatives to amend.

Are there any exceptions?

The exceptions to using the digital online service are below. In these instances, divorce applications should continue to be processed via the paper route:

· civil partnership

· judicial separation

· nullity

Does this mean you can get divorced without a Solicitor?

Interest on Google for divorce-related enquires saw a heavy increase at the beginning of the year which was highlighted in research for Divorce Day 2021 (January 4th). Searches including “filing for divorce”, “quickie divorce” and “divorce lawyer near me” increased by over 200%. This data, measuring interest on Google, compares the second week of December 2019 to the 6th-12th December 2020.

With the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the stresses of the various lockdowns continuing to impact all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional, it is expected that divorce enquiries will continue to rise.

Whist the more efficient service is aimed at allowing couples to reach a faster and more amicable agreement, and subsequently reduce legal costs, there are risks involved if couples try to completely go it alone and manage their own divorce without the legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor.

What are the risks in DIY Divorces?

Obtaining a degree absolute is only one part of the divorce process. Even if the separation seems reasonably amicable or there are no children involved or complex assets to consider, couples may not be fully aware of their legal rights, or the various options open to them.

Arrangements for children or decisions about how finances or assets should be divided are not included as part of the administrative divorce process and will need to be dealt with separately and recorded in a court order or deed of separation. Many couples assume that getting the decree absolute means that the ex can no longer pursue any financial claims against them in the future, but this is not the case. Disputes can often arise regarding finances or children after the decree absolute is finalised, and without formalising any settlement arrangements, these can be complex and costly to manage.

Even if you choose to manage the online submission yourself to reduce legal costs and speed up the process, it is always advisable to seek professional advice from an experienced family lawyer about how the law applies to your circumstances. It is important that you fully understand your legal rights to protect you and your family in the future.

Expert Family Law Solicitors London

Our specialist family law team will be able to provide you with practical advice regarding all divorce financial settlement matters, consent orders, ancillary relief proceedings, financial orders, and clean break agreements.

Regardless of the complexity of your situation, at Rose & Rose, our family law team has the experience and expertise to guide you through the most complicated legal issues and are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to our clients at all times.

If you need help with your divorce application or require advice on your rights and costs involved, get in touch today with our team of professionals, by emailing us at info@roselegal.co.uk or by calling us on 020 8974 7490.

This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors