Service deliveryDigital Customer ServiceFully digital divorce applications go live

Fully digital divorce applications go live

Online service offers prompts and guidance to assist people in completing their application, and uses clear, non-technical language

A new, fully digital service that removes the need for paper forms to be filled in during a divorce application has been launched to the public.

The online service offers prompts and guidance to assist people in completing their application, and uses clear, non-technical language. The whole process can be completed online, including payment and uploading supporting evidence.

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, 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.”

These changes are part of £1bn programme to transform the court system – making it quicker, more accessible and easier to use for all. Other examples of the government’s court reforms which are making access to justice easier for everyone include:

  • A digital system which makes it quicker and easier for people to claim money owed, resolve disputes out of court and access mediation.
  • A new service which allows people to submit their tax appeals online – drastically cutting the number of applications being returned as incomplete or inaccurate.
  • A paperless system, in operation at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court, which means thousands of offenders caught dodging fares or using fraudulent tickets can now be punished more swiftly and effectively.

Evidence has shown that 40% of divorce applications are rejected at the first stage due to the forms not being complete or missing documents. Since January, from the circa 1100 applications only 0.6% have been rejected, due to the monitoring, evaluation and understanding of the reasons for rejections, and the development of the system to eliminate these.

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