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Thankfully, things are getting simpler for couples who want to go their separate ways.
Perhaps you’ve read in the news recently that the stress of applying for a divorce could be eased thanks to a new online service that removes the need for paper forms. The service, of course, is the new ‘fully digitised’ divorce application which enables the whole divorce process to be completed online. It’s the latest initiative in the government’s £1bn modernisation programme.
According to the Ministry of Justice, during the pilot phase, nine out of 10 people were satisfied with the service.
So if you’re facing the end of a relationship, you might be tempted by this and wonder if it’s a good idea.
We’d say it very much depends on your own personal circumstances — but if there are no financial issues or children involved, and things are as simple as they can possibly get, it could well be a good option for you. However, if there are any complications at all, you really should get some tailored advice from a qualified lawyer. And then you wouldn’t have to worry about any of the technicalities.
Lucy Frazer QC MP, a British barrister and Conservative Party politician, commented:
“Allowing divorce applications to be made online will help make sure we are best supporting people going through an often difficult and painful time.
“More people will have the option of moving from paper-based processes to online systems which will cut waste, speed up services which can be safely expedited, and otherwise better fit with modern day life.”
It sounds enticing, and hopefully with good reason, but in our experience as family law practitioners, most users of the system will still need some proper legal advice to help them reach the best possible outcome.
Those who do decide to do it themselves will have to pay the court fee on the divorce petition which currently stands at £550. Some people won’t know that it’s sometimes possible to ask the court to order your spouse to pay your costs. However, this can make things more complicated in some cases. A prime example as to why it’s so important to seek legal advice.
Furthermore, there’s a connection between the divorce and the financial settlement. It may not be within a person’s interests to rush into things to finalise the divorce by applying for the decree absolute until the financial settlement has been sorted out. It is therefore absolutely essential that anyone applying for a decree absolute knows and understands the consequences for them of ending the marriage, before they apply. A lawyer can help with this.
If you’re in any doubt, or you simply want to talk to someone who’s an expert in family law, remember you can book a free initial consultation with one of my friendly, sympathetic family law solicitors.
It won’t cost you a penny for your first meeting, and you’ll get a better idea of what route you can take.
You can book your free consultation by calling 0800 999 4437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org