The digital age has arrived in the divorce courts with the announcement of a Digital divorce scheme which is to deliver ‘swift justice’.
There have been articles about celebrities such as Janet Street-Porter needing to lie in court in order to get her divorce more quickly.
We are now informed that with effect from 31 October 2017, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) are publishing that:
“couples will be able to complete the divorce application process online as part of a £1bn plan to reform the justice system.”
“The Ministry of Justice has announced that an online divorce pilot is now being tested at three sites in the UK, and is due to be extended to other centres in the coming months, with the ultimate plan to roll it out nationally.”
“The scheme enables couples to apply for an uncontested divorce digitally via smart forms, removing the need to fill in paper forms and send them to court manually.”
A spokeswoman for HMCTS has said:
‘We have a world-leading legal system and are investing over £1bn to reform and enhance our courts to deliver swifter justice.’
‘We have launched the first divorce application services online at three sites and will be extending the testing over the coming months. These measures will simplify the process for divorce applicants and help progress applications quickly.’
Apparently there is an online pilot running in Stoke (West Midlands) and Southampton (South West Region), as well as the original location, Nottingham (East Midlands) and that online pay and online submission are at a very advanced stage in those pilots.
According to the article in Family Law, once introduced next year, HMCTS will consider when is the right time to extend the service nationally.
At Wynn Mediation, we are aware that people are constantly looking for reforms so they are able to deal with their sensitive and complex matters efficiently and at low cost.
In our view, this is a great step forwards in offering a service that will be comfortable for many people to use in the future. This will not negate the important need however for couples going through divorce and marriage separation to come into family mediation to discuss on an impartial and neutral basis the various changes that they will need to embrace within the divorce process.
Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, FMCA and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator at Wynn Mediation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone: 01702 341241
PMM November 2017