You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Divorce process could be cut from a year to two months

0
Written by: Paloma Kubiak
07/11/2018
A pilot scheme has launched which could cut the time it takes to get a divorce, making the process easier for 100,000 separating couples a year.

A straightforward divorce usually takes up to 12 months but a joint pilot scheme between the government and Co-op Legal Services aimed to cut the time down to just eight weeks.

During the pilot, hard copies of divorce papers and financial orders weren’t posted to the courts for review and couples didn’t need to wait months for sign off of the paperwork.

Instead, paperwork was uploaded directly to a judge.

Depending on the outcome of the pilot scheme with the Co-op, the new system could be rolled out more widely. With an average of 100,000 divorces taking place each year, the move could streamline the prolonged process.

Tracey Moloney, head of family law at Co-op Legal Services, said: “We know divorce can be an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching time for families and lives can be turned upside down as a result. Divorce is a last resort for couples and they have often considered it for a number of months before they come to us, so they want the process to be as quick and painless as possible.’’

Finances and children add to complexity

The online divorce system deals with the divorce itself, not the finances which still need to be done via a paper application in the event of contested financial proceedings.

It also can’t handle the dissolution of a civil partnership, nullity or judicial separation at this stage as they have to be dealt with using paper applications.

Harry Gates, co-founder of The Divorce Surgery, said that while many people would welcome speeding up the divorce process, many don’t appreciate it’s not the divorce itself but arguing over related issues such as finance and arrangements for children which takes a long time.

Gates said: “The divorce itself is rarely controversial; the current system obliges one party to ‘prove’ they are entitled to a divorce on one of the statutory grounds. Sometimes parties can disagree as to why, and even whether, a marriage is at an end. The most common reason for delay is the need to settle financial arrangements before the divorce is concluded which can be a particular concern in cases involving claims against pensions.”

He added it’s probably sensible to be wary of any government IT programme which “promises the world until it is tried and tested”, but said: “If this can be delivered as it is conceived, I am sure it will be welcomed.”

Kate Van Rol, divorce barrister at 4PB, said that a divorce is an emotional and difficult time and anything which can assist in expediting the process should be welcomed.

“Usually if the time taken to complete a process is reduced then so too is the cost so hopefully the cost of obtaining a divorce will be reduced.”

Van Rol said it costs £550 to file a divorce petition but the global cost of a divorce can run into many thousands of pounds if the parties have each engaged a solicitor to assist them with the process.

“Any issues of non-cooperation or complexity, such as jurisdictional disputes, will add to the cost. The overall cost of getting a divorce to include settling the financial arrangements, which people often assume is involved in the term ‘divorce process’, will usually cost considerably more.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Are you a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage?

Look no further, get the help you need by searching for your perfect mortgage

Five ways to get on the property ladder without the Bank of Mum and Dad

A report suggests the Bank of Mum and Dad is running low on funds. Fortunately, there are other options for st...

The essential Your Money guide to the April 2018 tax changes

As we head into the 2018/19 tax year, a number of key changes take place to existing policies while some new i...

A guide to switching energy provider

All you need to know about switching from one energy supplier to another.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

YourMoney.com Awards 2018

Now in their 21st year, our awards recognise the companies offering the best products and services to consumers

Money Tips of the Week

Read previous post:
A row of terraced houses overlooks a view of London
House price growth dips to five-year low

The annual rate of house price growth has fallen to its lowest level since March 2013, data has shown.

Close