Digital divorces rolled out nationwide

Successful pilot saw process expedited and number of errors greatly reduced

Credit: Alpha Stock Images/CC BY-SA 3.0

All parting couples across England and Wales can now take advantage of a “fully digital divorce application”.

The online service was rolled out on 1 May, following the completion of a trial in which more than 1,000 divorce petitions were filed. During this pilot, 91% of users said they were satisfied with the service, according to the government. Meanwhile, the number of petitions that were returned because of mistakes plummeted to just 0.6% – compared with the 40% of paper-based applications that are initially rejected. 

Moreover, the time taken to legally complete a divorce digitally can be reduced to less than 12 weeks, compared with the six-month process that typically follows a physical application, the government said.

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Newly divorced Elaine Everett – who separated from her spouse two years ago – was among those to use the trial service.

She said: “It was marvellous – pain-free, and less stressful than the paper form which I tried several years ago to complete, but got fed up of it being rejected.”

Justice minister Lucy Frazer added: “Allowing divorce applications to be made online will help make sure we are best supporting people going through an often difficult and painful time. More people will have the option of moving from paper-based processes to online systems which will cut waste, speed up services which can be safely expedited, and otherwise better fit with modern day life.”


Sam Trendall

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