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The (start of the) Family Court's Digital Revolution

View profile for Louise Rhys-Thomas
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As a society we are increasingly moving towards ‘online’ being the default way in which we manage many aspects of our lives. Being able to manage our bank accounts and paying bills online saves many an hour stood in line at the bank or Post Office.

The Ministry of Justice has been very clear in its intentions to make use of online facilities to aid people in the access to justice and modernise and improve the Court system in England and Wales.

The online portal for divorce applications is one such online facility (link here https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce).

The application is presented by way of a number of questions and boxes to complete, only allowing you to progress to the next question when the current question has been completed. This is intended to prevent errors by users, for example it will not allow you to apply for a divorce if you have been married for less than one year. Marriage certificates can also be uploaded by way of a screenshot to the site and payments can be made online as well.

We have seen this benefit a number of our clients already, who have sought initial advice on the divorce process from one of our experienced solicitors before dealing with the divorce application themselves in a cost effective way. Anecdotal evidence suggests these divorces are being processed much quicker than the traditional paper application.

In a similar vein, the Ministry of Justice is also running a pilot scheme for solicitors to be able to send financial Consent Orders to the Court for consideration by the Judge online. The current paper system is taking weeks and sometimes even months to process, depending on the Court dealing with the application. Whereas the online system aims to dramatically improve these timescales.

Hughes Paddison is now part of this pilot scheme and we hope that being able to take advantage of such online services will also improve the service we offer our clients.

If you would like to find out more about how these online services could assist you, or you are seeking advice on any other aspect of family/relationship breakdown, please contact a member of our Family Team on 01242 574244 and one of our experienced solicitors will be happy to meet you and discuss your situation.

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