A new online service that removes the need for paper forms is being introduced into the procedure for divorce.

More than 1,000 petitions were issued through the new system during the testing phase, with 91% of people saying they were satisfied with the service.

The new, refined and easy to use version was rolled out across England and Wales from 1 May.

Court staff currently spend 13,000 hours dealing with complex paper divorce forms say the government but this simpler and less technical online service has already contributed to a 95% drop in the number of applications being returned because of mistakes, when compared with paper forms. This means only 0.6% of forms have been rejected since January.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer, said:

“Allowing divorce applications to be made online will help make sure we are best supporting people going through an often difficult and painful time.

More people will have the option of moving from paper-based processes to online systems which will cut waste, speed up services which can be safely expedited, and otherwise better fit with modern day life.”

The changes form part of £1 billion programme to transform the court system including adigital system which makes it quicker and easier for people to claim money owed, resolve disputes out of court and access mediation and a new service which allows people to submit their tax appeals online – drastically cutting the number of applications being returned as incomplete or inaccurate.

Speaking at a lecture earlier this month, Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the Hight Court, said: “The online divorce pilot has been a triumphant success and shows, to my mind conclusively, that this is – must be the way of the future.”


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