Couples throughout England and Wales may soon be able to divorce online, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals service (HMCTS) has announced.
This scheme will be included as part of a £1 billion investment from the government to reform the justice system.
Currently, all applications for divorce must be done on paper and sent in to the courts. With the rise in the number of people who do so without a lawyer’s help, as many as 40 per cent fill in the forms incorrectly. To combat this problem, the online divorce scheme includes “smart forms” that look very different from the paper versions. These forms are tailored to someone’s specific circumstances and adapt the questions based on their answers.
A spokeswoman for HMCTS claimed the online system would “simplify the process for divorce applicants and help progress applications quickly”.
It was originally launched as a pilot at the East Midlands Divorce Centre in Nottingham, but has since been expanded to include two other sites. This pilot was “extremely successful” as the new system reportedly received a lot of positive feedback from those who used it. As a result, HMCTS has announced plans to expand it further.
Ministers hope that the introduction of online divorce will save as much as £250 million through a reduction of paperwork and processing.
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