Should you Get a Divorce Online?

If you want to end your marriage or civil partnership but you don’t want to go through the process of sending the divorce papers through the post, you can choose an online divorce instead. Indeed this is now the most common way to proceed with a divorce.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through the steps of an online divorce, how you can apply and what you should consider before applying. 

Key Points:

  • Online divorces are becoming increasingly popular in the UK
  • Once you have applied online, the divorce process remains the same as if you had applied via post 

Is online divorce legal in England & Wales?

Yes, an online divorce is legal and safe. The online divorce application process is in line with official Government guidance, meaning you can have peace of mind proceeding online. 

Once you have applied online, the process, court orders and legality of the application will remain the same. This means the divorce will still go through a court and it will be subject to the approval of a judge. 

What is a ‘DIY divorce’?

A ‘DIY divorce’ is when you or your partner goes through the divorce process with little to no help from a solicitor. It involves taking full responsibility for the filing of necessary paperwork and navigating the dissolution of the marriage independently.

Most people will choose the DIY route to save costs, however, you should be aware that if things go wrong during the process, you may end up paying more to resolve these issues. 

If you choose to do your own divorce, then you should still consider the wider implications of divorce such as the arrangements for any children and a financial settlement and/or the dismissal of future financial claims.

How does the online divorce process work?

The UK divorce process is completed in three stages:

Stage 1: Apply online for the divorce 

To begin the proceedings, you will need to apply for your divorce either by yourself or jointly with your ex-partner. You will need to immediately pay the divorce fee, either by yourself or it can be split with your ex. 

Stage 2: 20 week reflection period

Once your online divorce application has been accepted, you will need to wait a mandatory 20 weeks before you can apply for the conditional order. During this time, you should be considering the need for any orders relating to children or finances. This can be done directly with your ex-partner or through mediation or via solicitors. 

Stage 3: Apply for conditional and final order 

Following the 20 week waiting period, you can then apply for the conditional order and then 6 weeks and 1 day after the Court has pronounced the Conditional Order (previously known as the Decree Nisi) you can apply for the final Order (previously known as the Decree Absolute). Once the court pronounces the Final Order, you are then divorced. 

Do you need a solicitor when you apply for a divorce online?

Whilst many couples going through a divorce may not think that they need a solicitor, we always recommend you have the support and guidance of one. This is to ensure that nothing is missed as divorce is not just about the ending of a marriage, but it can also affect children and finances.

Finances in particular can be complex. Solicitors will help you to identify aspects of your finances that you may not be able to understand otherwise, such as surveyor reports, pensions and businesses. Often, the details of divorce require careful consideration of the facts and the right questions asked to achieve the right outcomes. 

How long does an online divorce take?

Applying for an online divorce can speed up the process of the divorce application, however, you will still need to complete the 20 week reflection period once your online divorce application has been approved.

Once the 20 week period is up, you can then apply for the conditional order which can take 5 weeks to be approved. You will then need to wait another 6 weeks before applying for the final order.

Taking into account all of the time above, most divorces will take a minimum of 6 months to be finalised

How to apply for a divorce online 

To apply for an online divorce, you will need to head over to the Government website and complete the application form. However, before you begin the application, you will need to following information on hand:

  • Your ex-partners full name and address
  • Your original marriage certificate or a certified copy of it 
  • Proof of any name changes

You will also need to pay the £593 court fee which covers all the necessary administration and handling of your divorce application. 

Our goal is to help our clients solve their family legal matters as smoothly as possible.

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