Divorce goes online

Divorce goes online

1st June 2018

The government has launched its online divorce service which allows couples in England and Wales to divorce from the comfort of their living rooms.

How does it work?

The government website (www.gov.uk/apply-for-divorce) provides "prompts and guidance" to assist people. The Ministry of Justice says the service uses "clear, non-technical language". The whole process can be completed online, including payment. You may have to upload supporting documents.

How much does it cost?

The fee is £550 to cover court costs. The price is the same whether the divorce is contested or not. The "petitioner" - the one starting proceedings - pays, but they may seek some of this money back from the "respondent".

Future plans

The head of the family court Sir James Munby has indicated that within 4 years the courts plan to move to a situation where all divorces and disputes involving children will be dealt with virtually. Sir James Munby, who is due to retire in July, said: "We will at last have escaped from a court system still in too large part moored in the world of Dickens". The proposals are part of plans to modernise the courts which are due to be implemented by March 2022.