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Family lawyers informed that divorce service will end soon

By February 27, 2022March 1st, 2022Family, People

Due to upcoming reforms, Family lawyers are concerned that couples may be unable to divorce due to the closure of the digital portal used for applications.


Practitioners logging on to the MyHMCTS online service this week were stunned to discover a message stating that the divorce service will close soon due to alterations in divorce legislation.


A new system will be actioned on 6 April, implementing the provisions of the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, which will assist in a new age of no-fault divorce.


Headlined Divorce Service, the notice supposedly states: This service will close soon due to changes in divorce legislation. Submit your saved application as soon as possible so they do not get returned. For new applications, consider waiting until the replacement service is launched otherwise you may have to submit them again.


Solicitor and family law arbitrator at Dexter Montague Tony Roe, described the situation as shambolic and wholly unsatisfactory.


He reported to the press that it was uncertain as to whether HMCTS would accept paper applications during the time that the digital service is closed, and whether practitioners will be able to obtain consent orders.


A partner at Burgess Mee Family Law, Peter Burgess, commented: ‘It is obviously very worrying and not at all helpful if there is a “gap” between the two services, into which clients who require an urgent turnaround may fall. It is also not clear if paper petitions can still be submitted in urgent cases if there is a gap. Use of the portal was mandated from last year, but the relevant practice direction does provide for that rule to be suspended if there is an outage.’


Last year ministers broadcast that they had to put back their first deadline for applying for the new provisions, stating that the Ministry of Justice was committed to ensuring that the amended digital service allows for a smooth transition from the existing service which has reformed the way divorce is administered in the courts and improved the service received by divorcing couples at a traumatic point in their lives.

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