*The digital divorce portal was first introduced in 2018 and since then, more than 150,000 divorce applications have been made via the online portal. The portal was introduced as a way of cutting down the time from start to end of proceedings and issuing of the divorce. Before the portal was set up, it could take up to 60 weeks for a divorce to be finalised using the old paperwork system. It is now hoped that the average time to finalise a divorce will be in the region of 20 weeks.
So how will this make a difference to divorce solicitors and to their clients?
What this means for you as a client
- You will no longer to need to search for a solicitor who is signed up to this service because it is now mandatory meaning that all divorce solicitors will be using the portal.
- Whether you are the Petitioner (the one seeking the divorce), or the Respondent (the other party), the application will now be made online by your solicitor. Both solicitors will be able to upload and review documents quickly and simply. Your solicitor will be able to review any responses with you more quickly too.
- Gone are the days of waiting up to 4 weeks for confirmation that your paperwork has been received by the Court and that all is in order. Factors such as postal delays and the manpower required to process the paperwork no longer apply.
- For many couples, becoming divorced, (receiving the final paperwork), means more than just the bit of paper. For many it signifies a new beginning and a new status, both of which can remove the psychological feeling of being ‘tied’ to their spouse. Feeling ‘divorced’ as some may put it, can provide the motivation to move forwards (and deal with other matters if finances and childcare arrangements are yet to be agreed).
While there are many advantages to being able to bring the ‘marriage contract’ to an end more quickly, it must be remembered that this does not address any remaining financial matters or arrangements for childcare - these must still be dealt with. Your divorce solicitor should be able to manage all of this for you.
‘At Horsey Lightly we handle over 200 divorce cases per year’, said Alison Whistler, Head of the Matrimonial Department. ‘The online portal has really helped my clients speed up the administrative aspect of court proceedings which helps to reduce stress and costs.”
If you want to stay up to date with the latest news and updates from Horsey Lightly, then follow us on social media and keep visiting our ‘News’ pages.
*As published in The Law Society Gazette, https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/digital-divorce-portal-to-become-mandatory/5109759.article, from Monday 13th September 2021 the new HM Courts and Tribunals Service will made it mandatory for legal representatives to make new applications through the digital divorce portal. The Government’s aim when introducing this was to considerably shorten the timescales to finalise a divorce.