8th May 2018

Online divorce applications but what about the financial settlement?

Online divorce applications are available from today at the government website (www.gov.uk). This provides the opportunity to start the straightforward part of the divorce process.

This scheme is only available for an uncontested divorce and removes the need to fill in paper forms and send them to the court manually. It will not remove all paperwork as the court will then send you forms, but it is hoped this will lead to a more efficient service.

This service is only available for the public acting for themselves as litigants in person. Family lawyers will continue using the paper forms for the time being, although in time it is likely this will also be an online service.

The divorce application is only part of the process for obtaining a divorce. The second part of the process is the more complex financial remedy application and this is not available online. The financial settlement needs to be fair, taking many factors into account. It is crucial for the financial settlement to be embodied in an order which is drafted by a family lawyer and approved by the court. This is called a consent order and is legally binding. Without this either party can apply to the court for a financial order at a later date. This means that you could reach an agreement, divide your assets formally only for your ex-spouse to apply later for a further claim. This may be years after the agreement. It is advisable to obtain full legal advice as early as possible if you are considering separating.

Buss Murton Law offers a free 30-minute meeting to discuss family law matters in relation to separation, divorce, financial settlements, pre and post nuptial agreements, cohabitation agreements and children arrangements. Please contact the family department secretary Khaila Reid on 01892 502 335 to arrange a meeting or email kreid@bussmurton.co.uk