A Guide To Getting Divorced Online In The UK

Getting Divorced Online In The UK

In this digital era, the majority of tasks that used to require filling in paperwork and relying on an inconsistent postal service, can now be completed online.

And getting divorced is no exception.

The divorce process has suffrered a reputation for being overwhelming, expensive, and for being ground to a halt by mountains of paperwork and solicitors that drag their feet as the costs escalate.

Getting divorced online can solve all these issues and make the process simpler, cheaper and faster.

Indeed, an online divorce can be undertaken from the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need for court appearances or face-to-face meetings with solicitors.

This guide aims to provide comprehensive information on how to navigate the online divorce process efficiently.

We will walk you through each step and cover the most common questions, from determining eligibility to deciding which online divorce service is right for you.

By the end of this guide, you will have a clear understanding of how to proceed with an online divorce.

Is an online divorce legal in the UK?

Yes, online divorces are legal in the UK are legal and the process is governed by the UK government. Online divorces still go through the courts and are subject to the approval of a judge.

Online divorces offer the same legal protection while allowing couples to retain control of the process and minimise costs.

Express Divorce use the HMCTS online portal to issue divorce applications so there is less physical paperwork and administration.

How do I get an online divorce?

While far simpler and cheaper, the process is similar to a traditional divorce.

You and your partner only need to make one online divorce application between you. It can be sent from:

  • Both of you together – a joint application
  • Just you or your partner – a sole application

There are 3 main stages:

The Application

The Applicant completes the online application.  The court issues the application by sending a copy to the Respondent together with an acknowledgement of service.  The Respondent must acknowledge receipt of the application confirming they are happy for the divorce to proceed.

Application for the Conditional Order

20 weeks after the application is issued, the Applicant can apply for the conditional order.

Application for the Final Order

The Applicant must wait a minimum of 6 weeks and 1 clear day after the date of the conditional order before they can apply for the final order.

The application consists of several short questions if you are using an online application.

What information do I need to provide?

You will need to provide a copy of your marriage certificate and provide the names and addresses for yourself and your spouse. If applicable, you would also need to provide proof of any name changes.

These details are required so the court can send your former partner a copy of the divorce petition.

Choose your online divorce package here.

What if my spouse refuses to acknowledge my divorce application?

Although this is rare in no-fault divorce proceedings, there are a number of options available:

  • A follow up email to your spouse.
  • Court bailiff service of the application.
  • Appointing a private process server to serve the application.
  • Requesting the court to deem service of the application (if there is evidence such as a message/email/telephone call from the Respondent acknowledging that they have received the paperwork).

How much does an online divorce cost?

Choosing  an online divorce service represents a signifcant saving in comparison to hiring a high street solicitor.

Our managed divorce service costs £169 – a saving of between £1500 and £2000 when compared to high street solicitors’ fees. And we constantly review our prices to ensure we offer the best value when compared to our online divorce competitors.

The managed divorce service is for couples who want an experienced lawyer to draft all of the paperwork and handle their divorce from start to finish.

The only additonal cost is for the court fee – details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/court-fees-what-they-are

Who pays for an online divorce?

The person applying for the divorce (the applicant) is responsible for covering the court fee.

If the application is a joint one, applicant 1 will usually pay the court fee, although some couples agree to split the court fee between them if it is an amicable, joint application.

When do I pay the court fee?

We will ask you to transfer the court fee to us several days before we issue the application. You also have the option to pay the court fees when you first order your divorce service.

Before paying the court fee, it is worth checking to see if you are entitled to a court fee exemption or a fee reduction by clicking here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-help-with-court-and-tribunal-fees

Will I need to attend court?

It is extremely unlikely that you would need to attend court.

The only caveat to this, is if the judge needs to make enquiries about why and how you reached the financial agreement you did.

It is rare for a judge to refuse an order following such a hearing and it is unlikely that you would need legal representation.

How long does an online divorce take?

One of the many benefits of an online divorce is that it is quicker than a traditional divorce.

On average, it will take between 7 and 8 months to get divorced.

Once the divorce application is issued, you must wait a minimum of 20 weeks before you can apply for the conditional order.  Once the court has granted the conditional order, you have to wait a further 6 weeks and 1 clear day before you can apply for the final order.

Can I apply for an online divorce myself?

While it is possible to apply for an online divorce yourself, it is vital that the application is submitted correctly and that all required documentation and records are accurate. Any errors or discrepancies can result in long delays, which will prolong the divorce process.

This is why most couple decide to use a reputable online divorce service.

Express Divorce will handle your divorce application from start to finish, removing any stress and administrative burden during a difficult time. We also save you significant money on solicitor fees.

Do I need grounds for divorce?

No, you no longer need to give a reason to get a divorce.

No-fault divorces came into effect in England and Wales on 6 April 2022 and any application for divorce is based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means that married couples can divorce without one person needing to lay blame on the other.

Are Express Divorce different to other online providers?

While most online divorce providers offer similar packages, our managed divorce services are significantly less expensive than the other main providers.

We also use experienced lawyers to supervise all divorces, and with our premium services the divorce documentation is drafted by a senior matrimonial solicitor who oversees the entire process through court.

The majority of our competitors outsource to solicitors, while we are committed to keeping all divorces in-house to minimise the potential of errors and delays.

Final thoughts

Online divorce services have revolutionised the way couples seperate, removing the administrative burden and high costs that come with high street solicitors.

An online divorce is a cheaper, far less stressful and more accessible process in which you can retain control.

By simplifying this process, and with the right guidance and support, you can navigate a divorce with confidence and emerge stronger, ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead.