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Can I apply for a divorce online?

The government announced that the online divorce application service which they had been testing, was now available for use by the general public.


The entire process can now be completed online, without the need for the normal paper forms, with prompts and guidance offered to help those completing an application. It is even possible to upload supporting evidence, as well as paying the costs via the internet.  As Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court said, this “must be the way of the future”.


Whilst this system is undoubtedly a necessary move into the future for the divorce process in England and Wales (the government say that the online service has already contributed to a 95% drop in the number of applications being returned because of mistakes), going through the divorce process yourself, without any independent legal advice, should be viewed with extreme caution.


Determining your grounds for divorce


In England and Wales, there is no such thing as a “no fault” divorce. Even if both you and your spouse agree that you want to get a divorce, you will still have to prove that your marriage has irretrievably broken down.


In order to do this, you will need to provide reasons:


  • Unreasonable behaviour – this is where your spouse has behaved in such a way which means that you cannot reasonably be expected to live with them. Examples of this could include physical or verbal abuse, drinking too much or working all of the time.
  • Adultery – if your spouse has had sexual intercourse with another member of the opposite sex.
  • Desertion – your spouse has left you without good reason or your agreement and in order to end your relationship, for more than 2 years in the past 2.5 years.
  • Separation for more than 2 years – your spouse must consent to the divorce in order to cite this.
  • Separation for at least 5 years – no consent necessary.


We would always recommend that it is a good idea to obtain expert legal advice before choosing your grounds for divorce.


divorce online


A good solicitor should be able to recommend which grounds would be appropriate in your circumstances. Sometimes, it can also be a good idea for your solicitor to communicate with your spouse’s solicitors in order to discuss the grounds and make sure that all parties are agreed, so that a challenge to the divorce may be much less likely.


Mistakes are still possible on the online system


While the online system is very good at letting you know if you have made an error, there are some things that it simply will not spot, which could result in your application being returned to you and unnecessarily lengthening the process.


An experienced solicitor can check your divorce application for you, whether it’s online or in paper format and ensure that everything is correct and ready to go, in order to ensure that your divorce goes through as quickly and smoothly as possible.


Do you need help with your divorce options?


Our expert divorce and family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on your divorce options


For more information on your divorce options, call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Halifax Office: Old Lane, Halifax, HX3 5WP

Huddersfield Office: Northumberland Street Huddersfield, HD1 1RL

Coventry Office: Warwick Road, Coventry, CV1 2DY

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

Please contact us for more details.

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05th July 2018

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