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Law Articles

Divorce – finally going digital? 28/03/2018

You may be surprised to learn that it is not yet possible to get divorced online. The divorce courts are lagging far behind other public services and it seems odd that divorce online has not been possible until now when many of us will have renewed our car tax, paid our tax bill and perhaps even issued a small claims court case online. Whether or not this is a good thing for society is something on which the writer shall refrain from comment, although certainly speaking as someone who has struggled to complete my tax return without recalling the name of my dead grandmother's cat, I am not looking forward to yet another log in system.

Anyway, up to now, issuing a divorce petition required printing, signing a paper copy and physically taking the envelope to a post box. A cheque must be included – or a request for a member of court staff to telephone to take a card payment over the phone. It's not possible to pay online or on an automated telephone line. Other parts of the court procedure on divorce can be submitted to the court by email, but the procedure is still started in a very old fashioned paper based way which feels incredibly archaic in this day and age.

So all hail the digital divorce. A pilot scheme has been launched which apparently has received positive feedback and reduced 90 per cent of errors. That is impressive because the statistics for returning incorrectly completed divorce petitions frequently run at about 50 per cent of all petitions submitted. The pilot is not yet available to legal representations – that stage is coming soon. We wait with baited breath to see how easy it will be to log on.

The divorce petition has in any event become more user friendly in recent months, with the implementation of a user friendly form with integral explanatory notes but there are still pitfalls for those who complete it in person so it's always best to get proper legal advice on divorce.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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Manor Law Ltd, trading as Manor Law Family Solicitors, is a registered company in England and Wales - number 07977350, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Hertford office SRA number 567506 and City of London office SRA number 568637. Copyright © Manor Law, 2016. All rights reserved.

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