Tuesday, August 08, 2017

‘Digital Divorce’ Pilot to be Extended this Summer

The forms needed for couples in England and Wales to file for divorce are set to change. In paper and digital format, the new forms are designed to gather more information from both divorcees. Whilst the paper forms are yet to be released by the Ministry of Justice, a pilot for the digital equivalent is to be extended.

Being used on a trial basis in the East Midlands, the forms have a few key differences from the old one. Whereas all was needed for the current forms was a signature from both parties, for the new ones, a statement of truth is needed. This is to help give the authorities an idea of why couples are filing for divorce.

The statement requires the person(s) filling in the form to explain why they want a separation, being as descriptive and honest as possible. This could cause some confusion for those couples who have different versions of events leading up to divorce. It isn’t the only big change being introduced to the way in which couples can divorce.

Civil Partnerships

A version of the new divorce form will be introduced for couples in civil partnerships. As with married couples, their form will also have a statement of truth section, which needs to be filled in before it gets signed off. This step recognises that couples are looking to alternatives to marriage as a means of expressing their love for one another.

As for the pilot electronic form, this needs to be printed off before it can be agreed by the relevant bodies. Expert family law solicitors can assist with filling in the new divorce form. The pilot, which started towards the end of July, will gauge whether or not paperless divorces and separations are set to become the norm.

The most recent amendment to Form D8 was made this month, but other aspects of divorce or dissolution remain unchanged for now. Whilst one change may not seem like that much, knowing how to write the statement of truth may require plenty of thought from both divorcees.

Divorce by Phone

With the modified divorce form now available online, in theory, would-be divorcees could fill it in via their smartphones. This could cause some confusion, particularly if predictive text is used. Seeking specialist divorce law advice should help anyone choosing the electronic pilot over the paper form will be the best course of action.

However the form is filled in, if the electronic pilot succeeds, it should be rolled out across England and Wales at some point in 2018. The early signs thus far look promising for this shift towards digital divorces. Until then, divorce lawyers and offices nationwide will need to keep stocking up on paper forms and have pens at the ready.

Published on behalf of withersworldwide.

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