10 March 2016
Newspapers have suggested that ‘digital divorce’ will become the norm from 2017.
The President of the Family Division in England and Wales, Sir James Munby, said that E-divorce has to be the future.
The top family law judge is focused on reforming and modernising family law processes. Sir Munby suggested the current process is old fashioned and needs to be streamlined and simplified.
Is The Future of Divorce Digital?
Many other areas of law have already use electronic methods of communication with the court. However, we don’t know what reforms the UK Government will make to the divorce process or how this might impact couples seeking a divorce.
What’s clear is that the aim of the reforms will be to make the divorce process easier for couples and for the courts that currently process over 100,000 divorces each year. The expectation is that digital divorce will save people money.
Hopefully, digitalisation will make the divorce process simpler and easier. However, I think it will still be crucial for people to take legal advice upon separation as divorce is a legal process and there can be important consequences.
So many divorce cases have additional things to consider that make it vitally important to take professional advice. In particular, divorcing couples may wish to take legal advice about arrangements for children or finances on divorce.
How The Current Divorce Process Works
The current divorce process starts with the divorce petitioner, which is the legal name given to the person initiating the divorce. This must be one of the people in the relationship - either a husband or a wife. They prepare or instruct their solicitor to prepare a divorce petition. The petition is then sent to one of the country’s regional divorce centres to be processed. They are usually sent by post, but reforms may include electronic submissions.
It’s very easy to make simple mistakes on a divorce petition which can increase your costs further down the line. Slater and Gordon see many clients who undertake a DIY divorce which goes wrong. I find it’s often more costly to rectify than if a divorce solicitor had started the divorce process in the first place.
For a no-obligation initial consultation, call the divorce solicitors at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will contact you.
Amy Harris is a family law solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.