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The divorce procedure itself is fairly straightforward and mainly involves the completion of forms, so lends itself well to being online. However, it is vital that the process and all forms are completed correctly to ensure you can convince the court you are entitled to a divorce and are able to pursue a financial claim.

Increase in online divorces

With the world becoming increasingly reliant on technology, even more so since the outbreak of COVID-19, it is no surprise that online divorce applications have increased year-on-year, with in excess of 80,000 submissions having been received to date since its launch on 01 May 2018.

For many people, one of the deciding factors in choosing the online divorce option is the attraction of minimising cost. Removing solicitors’ fees can, for uncontested cases, make divorce more accessible for those with limited funds.

Online applications can be quicker and easier than taking the time to instruct a solicitor, attending meetings and waiting for correspondence. They also offer greater flexibility as forms can be submitted any time, day or night. The Government’s digital service effectively removes a link from the chain, allowing you to deal with the whole process yourself, which is a better fit for many people with modern-day life.

The importance of legal advice

Completing your divorce online will only end the marriage; it will not resolve how the marital assets are split, pensions are dealt with or deal with any child arrangements.

It is essential to fully understand all the consequences of your decisions before divorcing; without expert legal advice, many issues can arise.

For example, divorces that come about as a result of alleged adultery often see the petitioner eager to name the co-respondent in retaliation to the situation, which can lead to the process becoming unnecessarily acrimonious and protracted, often requiring more costly legal support further down the line.

Likewise, claiming court costs from your ex-partner could complicate matters and discourage them from cooperating or even end up with the divorce being defended.

The consequences of a DIY divorce

Failing to seek specialist legal advice before starting the divorce process can often mean finding yourself in a more difficult situation than you were already in.

Even the most amicable of breakups require a degree of legal intervention to ensure that you protect yourself. The timing of the application for the decree absolute can be crucial in some situations and have serious financial repercussions.

Even after the decree absolute has been granted, you cannot guarantee that your ex-partner will not be able to make a claim on your finances and pensions in the future unless you have also obtained a ‘clean break’ order from the court.

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