Traditionally, couples seeking divorce in the United States must fill out paperwork including a Petition for Divorce, which they must file with the county court. They must bring in the paperwork, pay the filing fee and have it date-stamped by the clerk. The current system in the United Kingdom similarly requires those seeking divorce to send completed forms to a court for consideration. However, a digital divorce scheme, which is now being tested in the UK, provides an alternative to this method of divorce.
The pilot scheme was implemented earlier this year, allowing people who met certain requirements to complete parts of the divorce process online. The Ministry of Justice reported that it would be trialed at the East Midlands Regional Divorce Centre in Nottingham. Now, the scheme will allow people to carry out their entire divorce digitally and will be extended to other centers in the upcoming months.
The Nottingham Post reports that this scheme was part of a justice system reform that cost over $1 billion. A spokeswoman for HM Courts and Tribunal Service hopes that the measures will simplify the divorce process as well as expedite the procedure for applicants. Decrees which legally signify the end of a marriage may be issued six weeks after submitting an online application.
The head of the family division of the high court stated that the changes to the court system would allow divorce to become entirely digitized in a scheme that he describes as a visionary program that is the first of its kind. While there are online services for couples seeking uncontested divorces in the US, it may be in the best interest of those seeking to negotiate divorce settlements to enlist the counsel of an experienced attorney who can help protect their legal interests throughout the process.
Source: Mirror, “UK pilots ‘digital divorce’ scheme that lets you end your marriage with a few clicks of a mouse,” David Whitfield, October 31, 2017