Can you get an online divorce
Divorce  |  Family law  |  Marriage

Can You Get An Online Divorce?

Posted by
Walker Family Law
Read more

Nowadays we are all used to conducting much of our business online. The benefits are obvious, including speed and convenience.

But can you apply for a divorce online?

The answer is: yes, you can. In fact, if you are using a solicitor to deal with your divorce the divorce application must be made online.

How do I apply for an online divorce?

You can apply online for a divorce via the government website. The application may be made solely by you, or jointly with your spouse (if it is a joint application you both need to use the same application method, i.e. online or by post).

To make the application you will need:

  1. All of the information required to complete the application, including your spouse’s fuCan you get an online divorcell name and address, details of the marriage, and of any previous court proceedings relating to your marriage.
  2. Your original marriage certificate or a certified copy, which can be obtained from the General Register Office. You will need to upload a copy of the certificate with your application.
  3. Proof of your name change if you’ve changed it since you got married, such as a change of name deed or deed poll.
  4. The court fee (currently £593), which is payable by credit or debit card. You may be able to get help with fees if you receive benefits, or are on a low income.

Once the application has been submitted it will be checked by the court.

If the application is correct then what happens next depends upon whether it was a sole or joint application.

If it was a sole application the court will send you a notice that your application has been issued, a copy of your application stamped by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (‘HMCTS’), and a case number. The court will send your spouse the divorce application and an ‘acknowledgement of service’ form, which they should complete, confirming they have received the application, and whether they intend to dispute the divorce.

If it was a joint application then you will both be sent a notice that your application has been issued, a copy of your application stamped by HMCTS, an ‘acknowledge receipt’, and a case number.

If the divorce is not disputed (it can only be disputed if the court does not have jurisdiction to deal with the divorce, if the marriage was never valid, or if the marriage has already legally ended) then, after 20 weeks have elapsed from the start of the proceedings, you (or you and your spouse, in the case of joint applications) can apply for the conditional divorce order.

Six weeks and one day after the date of the conditional order you (or you and your spouse, in the case of joint applications) can apply for the final divorce order, although you may wish to delay this until the financial settlement is in place, as we explain below.

Do I need a solicitor if I am doing the divorce myself?

All of the above may sound quite straightforward, and may tempt you to do the divorce yourself. But if you are doing the divorce yourself, do you need to consult a solicitor?

It would certainly be recommended.

As to making the application itself, it may seem straightforward. However, you may need legal advice, for example in relation to completing the sections in the application explaining why the court has jurisdiction to deal with your case, and stating whether you wish to apply for a financial order for yourself or your children in connection with the divorce.

And stating that you wish to apply for a financial order does not have the effect of making such an application – you will have to do this separately. The divorce application does not sort out the financial settlement.

In all cases it is recommended that you take legal advice regarding financial matters, in particular what you are entitled to, and what orders you should apply for. And applying for financial orders can be very complex, so should best be done with legal assistance.

Legal advice regarding financial matters should always be sought before the divorce is finalised, as getting divorced may have financial implications for you, for example in relation to pension benefits. The financial settlement should therefore be in place before the divorce is finalised.

Ian Walker Family Law & Mediation Solicitors are award-winning family solicitors and are recognised as one of the leading family law firms in the South West of England with services covering family law & mediation, divorce, child law, and arbitration. For expert advice, please contact the team.