The family courts are under pressure. Figures from the Ministry of Justice for the period April to June 2016 showed an increase of 10 per cent in the number of family cases compared to the same period the year before. Unsurprisingly the time it takes for courts to finalise financial remedy claims is rising steadily.

There is a growing consensus for some kind of reform of the way we manage the system. This should give hope to our clients and others going through the trauma of divorce. The changes – when they come – should reduce the stress and uncertainty that all too frequently dominate the legal process.

What Might Change Look Like?

In a speech last year the president of the Family Division Sir James Munby outlined a radical view of how the family courts may operate in future. He spoke of an entirely digitised and paperless court – and hoped this could be achieved within four years. Such a transformation was necessary, he argued, for us to escape from a court system that is “moored in the world of the late Charles Dickens”.

His proposals included:

  • Issuing proceedings online. Divorce applicants would complete a questionnaire instead of an application form that would capture all relevant information.
  • Conducting some proceedings entirely online, including the final hearing. He envisaged the judge interacting electronically with the parties and their legal representatives.
  • A dramatic revision of what he termed the ‘thicket’ of court forms

Ultimately, individuals going through divorce may begin to experience less of the stressful bureaucracy associated with filing for divorce. Increased use of technology should also reduce the number of occasions when parties are obliged to attend court.

Online Divorce Proceedings

Perhaps the central plank of Sir James’s proposals is the paperless divorce. But the pace of change is proving slow. Despite the president’s suggestion that online divorce could be in place by early 2017 it seems to have fallen well behind schedule. Reports last week suggest that, while the Court Service has started to consider how it can build an online system only a small pilot scheme is due to begin shortly.

No-fault divorce? A side-effect of online petitions?

These delays are bad news not just for those seeking a more streamlined divorce service. They are bad news too for proponents of no-fault divorce. They believe the financial and efficiency savings resulting from online divorce could be enough to persuade the government to finally introduce no-fault divorce legislation.

Industry body Resolution has argued that removing fault from an online service will make the system easier to operate because there will be no need for judicial assessment of evidence (where fault is alleged).

Welcoming Change

At present the reality is that up to four copies of the divorce petition need to be physically lodged at court for the process to even begin.

While we normally take care of paperwork for clients, anything that

reduces unnecessary bureaucracy would be a welcome development for all involved. Administrative burdens like this can lengthen an already stressful process. But equally they distract from dealing with the central issues in your divorce, including financial investigations and questions about children. And this distraction comes at a crucial stage for you and your family.

For advice on your divorce please call us on + 44 (0)20 7430 8470 or contact us online.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had a 30-minute consultation with Samantha Jago where she clearly explained all my options and followed up with a detailed email of notes. I would highly recommend if you need help to clarify where you stand and getting options for how you move forward.

Jun 2024   Katherine Davey

I recently had a one hour pro bono consultation with Samantha Jago. I was really blown away by how much she was able to digest in such a short period of time and even more so by the report which I received shortly after.

Apr 2024   S DF

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470