January 31

Online Divorce Service for Law Firms

Divorce, News

As of January 2020 all law firms are now able to make an application for a divorce online and progress through to Decree Absolute on behalf of their clients.

Whilst the online divorce system run by HM Courts and Tribunals Service is still being developed, many firms have already trialled it. 

Using the new online service, law firms will be able to:

  • Manage their own account on the system;
  • View all their divorce applications on a single dash board;
  • Follow the stages of their online applications, removing the need to phone the Court for updates.

Here at Sanders Witherspoon LLP we have now registered to use the service and will be able to issue all new divorce instructions on the new online service.  This will mean that Petitions will be issued very quickly compared to a paper Petition with a local Court.  The new service should mean there will be more speed and efficiency in the way in which the Court will handle online divorces.  We will also be able to check the progress online.  With paper applications we would often need to call the Courts and sit in a call queue.  The online process will mean that we can feed back to clients instant updates.  This is a huge step in the right direction and will certainly be paving the future for all applications. 

Want to know more about the divorce process? See how to file for a divorce in the UK.

Can you do a divorce online yourself?

It is imperative that rather than issuing a Petition yourself online that you do instruct a qualified Solicitor as we often see clients who end up needing to utilise the services of a solicitor because of mistakes.  Mistakes include spelling errors, which have not been spotted by staff at regional divorce centres, when filing in divorce paperwork.  This is because staff are under pressure and more prone to error in dealing with the sheer volume of applications.  This only then serves to cause further delay in the divorce process until these errors have been rectified.

By issuing an online Petition yourself you are missing out on expert legal advice regarding financial issues and children.  A family Solicitor can help you if you are at logger heads by guiding you towards an amicable agreement.  It does not have to be expensive to speak to an experienced family Solicitor.  

Another reason that people are making errors when submitting their divorce Petitions online, without the expertise of a Solicitor, is because sometimes they do not know the Respondent’s address, or they failed to check the process server’s statement of service is correct, or name the Co-Respondent but failed to serve them.  You might have forgotten to ask for your costs to be paid.  You might have overlooked the option to apply for a financial Order or you might simply have forgotten to tick a box.  When it comes to applying for a financial Order, you might think it is a simply “yes/no” answer, but are you sure you know all your legal rights?  You do not want to miss out on a fair share of the pensions, or the business, or to be left with your ex’s debts. 

Your DIY divorce Petition can fail completely because you have not chosen the right reason for your divorce, or not given sufficient detail.  If you belatedly discover you have ticked the wrong box, or you want to strengthen your DIY divorce Petition, the only option is to apply to amend it but amending a Petition is not only costly – an extra £95.00 Court fee – it is time consuming and fiddly.

Please contact our family department on 01277 221010 for further advice.

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