It has recently been announced that couples in England and Wales will eventually be able to file for a ‘no fault’ divorce, meaning that couples who simply grow apart, no longer have to find ‘blame’ to bring the marriage to an end.
It is thought that this reform in divorce law will help to reduce family conflict and, in some cases, could speed up divorce proceedings. With these changes, alongside the introduction of the Ministry of Justice online divorce platform it is thought that divorce will become much quicker and easier for many couples in the future.
Since its introduction in May 2018, the new online divorce platform has seen 23,000 applications, with 13 petitions filed on Christmas Day! The platform is seen as being easy to use and cost effective.
Adam Kidd, Divorce Solicitor at Banner Jones Solicitors warns however that ‘Many do not realise that the divorce itself can be done online without the need for a solicitor” – but he also points out that “it’s vital to understand that the divorce is likely to be only part of the story, often there will be children and finances to consider as well. The online platform can only be used to deal with the actual divorce and the assistance of a solicitor may be required for the other matters. It may therefore be worth seeking the advice of a solicitor before any steps are taken”. In addition Adam advises that “The online system cannot be used for the dissolution of Civil Partnerships, nor can it be used to seek an annulment or pursue judicial separation.”
Family Law in the UK treats the divorce and the division of matrimonial finances as separate, meaning that, whilst you can technically file for a divorce online, you will need to agree the financial settlement separately and it’s likely that you will need to enlist the advice of a solicitor to guide you through and formalise the process. Matrimonial finances are those assets which are regarded as belonging to both parties and usually include the matrimonial home, savings, pensions and investments.
In more complex situations there can be technical pitfalls to consider when it comes to the division of pensions, business assets and inherited assets, which may require specialist advice from a Family Law Solicitor in order to ensure these are dealt with properly.
Here at Banner Jones, we can offer a fixed-fee initial consultation with one of our experienced divorce solicitors to discuss the options available to out and to assist you throughout the process.