Whether Divorce will eventually go online | Davis Blank Furniss

Latest from Family Law Bar Association

Speaking at the at the recent Family Law Bar Association annual dinner, Sir James Munby – president of the Family Division – raised the idea that divorce cases could begin shifting almost entirely online by 2017.

Child looking sad with lawyers and family

My verdict

In my view, this will very much depend on whether the Ministry of Justice is able to produce an effective online divorce system.  Divorce itself is a fairly straightforward process and is presently a paper exercise which means it is extremely rare for the spouses to have to attend court as the vast majority are agreed (undefended).

However, my concerns are in respect of the ability of the MOJ to deliver. If it can, I am of the view that it would be of great assistance to the public but it remains to be seen whether the public will still require assistance and guidance from their legal team.

I suspect that in a great many cases, clients will require help as it is not always easy to deal with such significant life events in an automated digital manner. It is also likely that many digital divorces will be actioned by the solicitor on behalf of their client.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that the other aspects of marital/relationship breakdown – such as child arrangements and finances – can be digitised also.  Separating couples will still need to specialist advice from a family law practitioner tailored to their specific circumstances, needs and requirements.  This ongoing need cannot – and in my opinion will not – be met by the proposed online divorce system as it will not be able to cater for the varied family circumstances and the broad spectrum of advice which has to be considered.

I am fully committed to supporting and encouraging the introduction of technology to streamline access to justice but this should not be at the expense of practical and cost effective family law advice which will still be required by separating couples.

Found this article useful? You might be interested in some of our others:


Read what our clients have to say...

View All

Excellent experience start to finish – always very responsive to any queries and the turnaround on the property I was buying was very quick, even in the busy time leading up to stamp duty deadline. Jenny was always very helpful and went above and beyond to close on a short timescale.

Ben Armitage

“Very approachable, practical solutions to problems, but most of all very responsive which I personally think is very important because if you need help, you need it quickly, or at least to know someone is looking at it for you”.

Joanne Rowe, Finance Director, Greater Manchester Chamber

“Always able to contact, very approachable, friendly and professional”

Nives Feely, JAM Recruitment

“I believe I have been able to establish a professional working relationship with everyone I have come into contact. Importantly, I sense the relationships which have been established give me the confidence that I can make contact with Davis Blank Furniss at any time and on any matter. I would also like to express my thanks to the very impressive “gatekeepers” who work in reception, not only for making me very welcome, but also for their professionalism”

Bill Pryke, CEO, Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors

“Thank you for your efficient and friendly help throughout this process. We have had it easy but your approach has been part of that”.

Robert Amsbury (Conveyancing Client)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for the ongoing support and assistance the firm has offered to our parents over the years. I hope also that we may be able to call on you if necessary in the future.”

Valerie Fisher (Probate Client)

“Jo always provides great service, understands our needs and delivers on her promises. Our needs are relatively simple but the complexity arises out of the volume of work and short time frames, Jo always delivers.”

Peter Fernandez, Corporate Director at Royal Bank of Scotland

“A big thank you to all who dealt with my wife’s claim… We would not hesitate to recommend Davis Blank Furniss to anyone that may be in a situation like we have been…”

Anon (Personal Injury client)

“Before putting my case in Kirsty (Morbey)’s capable hands I’ve met a couple of other solicitors. None of them listen to me as intently as Kirsty and showed me as much empathy and understanding as she did. Simultaneously she was able to look at my case from legal perspective, explain all the options and follow each of our meetings with written summary of the discussed matters (in timely manner). Her advice was invaluable and led me to successfully ending the case matter (hopeful for good). I’m forever grateful for he work and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for reliable, knowledgeable and committed solicitor”.

Anon (Family client)
5 star service

Our Manchester office is rated 5 stars on Google