If you would have asked any divorce lawyer 10 years ago if it were possible to become divorced online, they would have thought you were asking for the moon.
Yet here we are in 2021 with a completely online system. The courts have gone beyond just making an online service available to both legal professionals and members of the public and made it mandatory (for legal professionals) to process all new Divorce applications using the online portal.
As from Monday 13 September 2021 lawyers must submit any new application for Divorce using MyHMCTS. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the court service to ramp up its plans modernise the way in which the court works and has, as a result, become a more efficient and reliable service.
MyHMCTS is the online court service and must now be the first port of call for a divorcing couple. Although it was first available in 2018 it has, over the past 18 months, become much more widely used. The service manages all applications and all court fees and has proven to be far quicker than the previous paper based service. As it is online it is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
If a divorce is uncontested and financial matters are agreed between the parties the whole process can and should now be completed online without the need for anyone to attend at court at all.This will free up the court time for contested matters as a significant delay remains following the lockdowns during the pandemic.
Do you still need a solicitor?
Divorce is never easy, no matter the circumstances. It is hoped that the switch to online divorce will make the process less intimidating, potentially quicker and hopefully more reliable. However, it is always advisable to seek legal advice to help avoid uneccesary delays and ensure that the process does not stall or get slowed by the emotions involved.
To discuss this further, please contact our family team here.
This article was written by Jennifer Herbert, Solicitor. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of September 2021.