Online Divorce Applications Rolled Out Nationally
At the beginning of May 2018 the ability to issue a divorce petition "online" was rolled out nationally, so now, all members of the public are able to issue their divorce petition online. For a time, this was not available to legal professionals, but it is now the expectation, mainly due, perhaps, to procedural changes brought about by the Covid-19 Lockdown.
Similarly, Financial Remedy Applications can also now be dealt with online.
Pronouncement of Decree Nisi will remain a function of a judge sitting in a Courtroom.
HMCTS aim to bring other family law processes into the digital arena, with child law applications also being dealt with in this fashion.
It is important to realise that this is not the be all and end all however. The divorce process per se does not deal with the division of finances, and in certain circumstances it is important not to apply for decree absolute until this has been dealt with, as it can have detrimental consequences.
Whilst the divorce process is being simplified, the law relating to divorce is not, and there are potential pitfalls for the unwary. It is perhaps of concern that the Government have recently announced that they intend to make 6500 redundancies in the Court system in the next 2 years. The digitisation process helps in this objective, but it could all end in tears if things are not carefully monitored.