The festive period provides a great break from reality, with time off work and plenty of celebrations distracting us from everyday life. However there are still people out there that haven’t let this time distract them from making the huge decision of leaving behind married life and filing for divorce… with 13 people filing on Christmas Day itself!
On the one day of the year where most businesses are closed, access to the divorce application process is provided by the internet. 455 online applications for divorce were submitted between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day to HM Courts and Tribunals Services. This platform has only been available since April 2018 and has already seen more than 23,000 apply for divorce through it.
Justice System Modernisation
This service is a part of a £1 billion plan to modernise the justice system with other services including low level motoring offences, probate applications and civil money claims. With over 150,000 people using these online services in 2018, Justice Minister Lucy Frazer claims “people are reporting these services work well for them and are a better fit around their busy lives”.
The DIY Divorce
This DIY approach to divorce may be seen as quicker and therefore easier but is it the best route to take? In making this decision it is always helpful to hear from a legal perspective.
Jessica Bullock, Legal Assistant in our Family Department, had this advice on the matter: “In relation to online divorce applications, people are not receiving sound legal advice. They might not be fully clued up on the divorce process. For example; what grounds they can apply on and what they entail, what they would need to do if their spouse doesn’t return or respond to divorce papers. We would always advise that it is better to seek legal advice before issuing divorce proceedings and to have access to advice throughout the procedure.”
“If people are applying online without this advice they may not be fully aware of the financial consequences of divorce. An example of this might be if the divorce process reaches the application of the Decree Absolute before financial matters have been settled, it could mean a spouse wouldn’t be entitle to pension benefits etc., in the death of their spouse.”
“Karen Brookes, Chartered Legal Executive at our Barnsley office, is able to fully advise on divorce proceedings and the financial consequences following marriage breakdown at a free initial consultation.”
Access to Legal Advice
Access to legal advice can also assist in completing an application for the different stages and processes within a divorce.
“When filling out a divorce petition, if the correct boxes aren’t ticked this could bar a party from being able to make claims on their former spouse, or cause the application to be sent back to them and further delay proceedings. Therefore it is better to have a legal advisor to look over them, if forms aren’t filled out correctly even if it is just a slight mistake such as a name they will be sent back.”