In May this year, it was announced that couples who want to begin divorce proceedings can now do so online, with the introduction of the fully ‘digital divorce’. This means that rather than having to wade through a lengthy paper divorce petition, a Petitioner in a divorce can submit the paperwork online, as well as pay the Court fee. This is part of the government’s efforts to simplify the divorce process, making it more accessible to those wanting to divorce, and in turn, hopefully reducing some of the stress and worry for those involved.
This is a positive step, but it is important to remember that divorce itself is, in reality, an administrative exercise – indeed the process of starting divorce proceedings to obtaining decree absolute is generally straightforward. The issues associated with divorce however, like sorting out arrangements for the children and the family finances, are separate to that of the divorce itself, and it is still important for both people to seek independent legal advice on these matters.
It is also important to point out that there are still parts of the divorce petition, particularly in relation to the petitioner’s financial claims, the implications of which may not be clear to a Petitioner filling out the form online.
It is therefore still essential that both people involved in a divorce seek independent legal advice; this will ensure not only that any questions they have in relation to the divorce itself can be answered, but also that the more complicated issues relating to the family finances and arrangements for the children can be explored. Hopefully then any pitfalls can be avoided.
If you have any questions about this issue or any other family related legal queries, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact myself or one of my colleagues on 01603 625231.
Written by Sophie Smith