Online divorce service launched nationwide
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) recently launched its online divorce service nationwide. The scheme is designed to be used by the public at large who do not have a solicitor acting for them in relation to their divorce. The scheme also only applies where both parties are in agreement that there should be divorce and plan to comply with all the necessary paperwork to obtain a divorce decree (known as uncontested divorce).
The scheme is designed to remove the need to fill in paper forms and send them to court manually. The initiative is part of a £1bn plan to reform the justice system. The MoJ claims that court staff currently spend 13,000 hours dealing with complex paper divorce forms, but this simpler and less technical online service has already contributed to a 95% drop in the number of applications being returned because of mistakes, when compared with paper forms.
The MoJ is still yet to bring out an online process for applications being made by solicitors acting for a third party to a divorce. To date research has been conducted with 42 legal professionals from 24 different firms. Following this research, HMCTS will look to give another update later on in the summer.
Even with this cost saving measure some clients still find it a minefield to navigate and make sure that the paperwork they are submitting is correct. The benefit of obtaining legal advice from the outset cannot be overstated. At Barker Gotelee the family department can offer a free initial consultation in most circumstances and appointments can be made by telephoning 01473 611 211 and asking to speak to one of the family team assistants.
Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in the Family department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors.