Co-op Divorce Now Takes Just 8 Weeks
09 October 2018
Co-op Legal Services has secured a place on two new pilot schemes being run by the UK Government to speed up the divorce process from 9-12 months to just 8 weeks.
Under these new pilot schemes all of the divorce paperwork is submitted electronically instead of by post. This streamlines the divorce process, significantly reducing the length of time it takes to get a divorce.
By securing a place on these two schemes, Co-op Legal Services' divorce clients will now benefit from this streamlined process, having their divorce turned around in just 8 weeks from start to finish.
How Does the Pilot Scheme Work for Divorce?
Currently, in order to get a divorce granted by the Court there is a lot of back and forth, with a number of documents being posted between the Court, the petitioner (or their Solicitor) and the respondent (or their Solicitor). This inevitably takes time. If we are acting on behalf of the petitioner, then the current process for our Divorce Solicitors is as follows:
- We send the divorce petition to the Court
- The Court issue the divorce petition, allocating a case reference number and sending the petition on to the respondent
- The respondent sends an Acknowledgement of Service back to the Court
- The Court send the Acknowledgement of Service on to us
- We apply for the Decree Nisi
- 6 weeks after receiving the Decree Nisi, we apply for the Decree Absolute, which will legally end the marriage.
Steps 1 and 2 can take anything between 2-4 months, depending on which Court is processing the divorce and how busy they are.
Under the new pilot scheme, we can simply upload the divorce petition electronically, and this will then be issued by the Court within 3-4 days. Steps 3 and 4 will remain largely unchanged, as it will still be necessary to wait 6 weeks after receiving the Decree Nisi before the Decree Absolute can be applied for.
This means that the total time taken to process the divorce under the pilot scheme will take a total of around 8 weeks, whereas previously this could take anywhere from 6-9 months.
How Does the Pilot Scheme Work for Financial Orders?
To formally end all financial commitments between the couple, it's necessary to put a Financial Order in place after the Decree Absolute has been received. Previously, the process for this would be as follows:
- We draft the Financial Order and post this to the Court
- The Court approves the Order, seals it and sends it back to us
Depending on which Court this was sent to, the Financial Order could take anywhere up to 3 months for them to process, seal and return. In some cases it could take even longer.
Under the new pilot scheme, the Financial Order can be submitted electronically as soon as the Decree Nisi has been received (while the Decree Absolute is still being awaited). The sealed order will be received electronically just 24 hours after being submitted to the Court.
This means that the total time taken to process the divorce from start to finish and to receive the sealed Financial Order will take just 8 weeks, whereas previously the whole process could take 9-12 months, or even longer.
This reduction in time will make a significant difference to divorcing couples, making what can often be a stressful and difficult process far less drawn out.
Tracey Moloney, Head of Family Law, explained:
"By being part of the pilot scheme we are able to improve upon our service to our clients. Turning a divorce around in 8 weeks is a massive improvement upon process and will reduce the stress and anxiety experienced by clients who are subjected to lengthy waiting times while their applications are being processed."