The standard Divorce Petition form changed on 7th August 2017 in readiness for the new online service, and as a result of recent changes it’s now possible for members of the public to upload all relevant paperwork and fees relating to divorce using the new system. It’s reported that during a trial period there was a significant reduction in mistakes being made which had previously meant paperwork had to be returned. The guidance given online when completing the paperwork has apparently largely eradicated these errors.
An additional advantage is said to be the reduction in the length of time for processing the papers. This means those applying on line could be divorced in about half the time it takes to apply using the traditional paper divorce forms.
It’s always been the case that the lay person can deal with their own divorce but the fact that it’s been simplified is likely to increase the chances of opting for the new online system. What’s not yet clear is how many people will obtain Decree Absolute, but will overlook resolving financial matters.
A possible pitfall with this is that if you were to remarry before dealing with financial matters, you may be prevented from applying for a financial order through the courts. This will depend on whether (a) you were the Petitioner and ticked the relevant boxes in your Divorce Petition, and (b) if you have issued an application for a financial remedy. If neither of these actions has been completed, perhaps because you’re the Respondent, or perhaps because the Petition was not completed correctly, and you then remarry without first having made an application to the court, you will be barred for claiming financial provision from your spouse, save in respect of their pension. Remarriage automatically causes spousal maintenance claims to come to an end so even if these had been left open so a claim could be made at a later date, they will automatically be dismissed on remarriage.
For more information about financial matters relating to a divorce please get in touch with our family team.
Published on 24/05/2018