The Ministry of Justice in the United Kingdom is moving forward with a pilot project to bring divorces online. The massive £1 billion project would allow all uncontested divorces to be handled using an online application process, thereby making divorce digital.
The Ministry of Justice has been piloting the project in Nottingham for 10 months and claims to have found success in the reform and its ability to deliver “swifter justice”. The digital measures are said to simplify the process and help applications progress more quickly. The online process has moved forward to two additional test sites in the UK and is expected to be extended to more locations in the coming months.
Under UK’s current system, those seeking an uncontested divorce must fill out the requisite paper work and supporting documentation to be sent to the court for consideration (similar to Canada). The digital reform will allow individuals to apply for divorce from their homes with an online ‘smart form’ that includes software with customized questions based on the circumstances of the marriage breakdown.
While the intention of the reform is to help save costs via a reduction in paperwork and processing time, critics and court managers have opined that almost half of those who fill in the forms without the help of a lawyer have their request for the divorce process to begin rejected because they cannot complete the form correctly. The reform is in early stages so time will tell whether the future of divorce is digital.
Note: This blog was written October 2017