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Divorce is one of the toughest things most people go through in their lives, but the governments new online divorce system may help to take some of the sting out of it.
Currently, any legal marriage can be brought to an end through divorce, however, this can often be a long and painful process. Whilst the decision to end a marriage is not any easy one, it is thought that a new government scheme will make the process itself much simpler.
A £1 billion change to the justice system has lead to the launch of a new online divorce process for uncontested splits. The online application process is currently being tested but it is hoped that it will soon be rolled out across the country.
How Does It Work?
The new online system has been designed to make the process quicker and easier by reducing the paperwork involved as well as the subsequent processing time. It is thought the new tailored online questions will save the Ministry Of Justice in the region of £250 million and will allow the courts to offer swifter justice.
For most family law solicitors, there is a vast amount of paper documentation required in order to process a divorce including the forms that need to be sent to court and the petition to be served to the spouse. Contests to this provide yet more work, and other documents such as marriage certificates, reasons for divorce and financial agreements all have to be provided. Once the reasons for the split are agreed, a decree nisi, followed by a decree absolute is issued to end the marriage.
This new system is the first step in a world-first attempt to completely digitise the divorce process. It is hoped that this will go some way to alleviate the stress, pain and expense that many couples go through when trying to bring their marriage to an end.
In 2014 there were over 111,000 divorces across England and Wales, and it is thought that these reforms will offer swifter justice to many of these couples. The system was first piloted at the East Midlands Divorce Centre in Nottingham for the first half of this year, and is now being tested at three further sites. This should lead to it being rolled out to the rest of the country in the not too distant future.
Whilst the grounds for divorce will not change, couples wishing to end a legal marriage, including same-sex marriages, will find the system much simpler and quicker. However, if one party decides to contest any aspect of the divorce, this is likely to elongate the process and will probably require more paperwork.
Whilst nothing will take away the stress or heartache that a divorce can bring, it is thought that many will find the process easier thanks to this new online system, allowing both parties to move on with their lives without being caught up in courts, lawyers and documentation for months on end. As testing is still ongoing, it remains to be seen how successful this new scheme will be, or how many couples are likely to benefit from it.
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