Government to Test Online Divorce Application Process

Published: 19th February 2018

The Government has recently announced that it is to test a new online divorce application, which is designed to make the whole process much simpler and far less stressful for families navigating through the divorce process in England and Wales.

Industry experts and organisations have long been calling for a revamp of the family justice system, with an eye on it becoming in line with today's society and better suited to supporting modern families.

The Government have been considering ways in which the justice system can be brought up to date, and one of these is to employ an entirely online system, whilst ensuring that the law and regulations are enforced correctly.

Modernising the Justice System

The introduction of testing for a new online divorce system comes as part of the Government’s plans to inject £1bn into the justice system, with a view of modernising the whole system and making processes far simpler and better for everybody involved.

As part of this, Transport for London has seen one of its long standing issues resolved, with the need to manually process and physically deliver papers relating to cases to the court, as they are now able to transfer the evidence to the court electronically, with the case evidence then reviewed digitally rather than relying on traditional paperwork. Furthermore, more than 3000 people that have avoided public transport fares have now been sentenced via a paperless system. Finally, tax appeals can now be submitted online, which helps to reduce the number of forms being returned as inaccurate or incomplete.

Testing an Online Divorce System

The online application process test was initially considered and put into action in 2017, whereby a scheme was piloted by HM Courts and Tribunals Service. This test consisted of a system that would allow people to complete the application online, print the form off and then send it directly to the court. The current idea is to develop that system in a way that would see the application completed online, with all relevant payments and documents sent online, rather than offline. Within the first week, there were a total of 130 applications received online.

Commenting on the new testing, HMCTS chief executive, Susan Acland-Hood, said: "These measures are drastically cutting the number of applications returned because of errors - streamlining the process and ensuring we are best supporting people going through a difficult and often painful time."

Recent suggestions from HMCTS give the impression that users have left very positive feedback about the system, and the next step in the process would be to adapt it in such a way that law professionals are able to make use of it.

If you are thinking of separation or divorce then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our team of family law specialists can advise on all aspects of family law, ranging from the straightforward to the highly complex.

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