13 May 2019

Reducing divorce stress – local law firm leads on digital pilot scheme

Local law firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys (HCR) has been asked to take part in a pilot scheme to cut the stress and complexity of divorce, allowing couples to sort out their finances online in less than half the time it currently takes on paper.

The project, run by the Courts and Tribunal Service for the Ministry of Justice, is part of a larger scheme to enable people eventually to apply for and process their divorce online.

The online divorce process has been launched, with thousands of applications already successfully processed. The next step, in which HCR is involved, for couples to sort out their finances online through consent orders, is being piloted and is likely to be open for public use towards the end of the year.

Andy Caldicott, head of family law at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, said: “We were asked to take part because we have a large and established family law team and we file a high volume of these orders – taking this system online will make the process quicker and easier for all concerned. Divorce is quite stressful and difficult enough and cuts to central funding have made it worse, but the pilot means that the process moves much more smoothly for our clients.”

The pilot scheme aims to overcome barriers in the existing system which make the process harder for people to handle – at the moment, there are few simple ways to handle any part of the divorce process and it is largely paper-based, which takes more time and money to handle than an online system.

Andy said: “It is a real advantage for our clients to be able to use this system ahead of its public launch and we hope that our, and their experience, helps to inform and improve it ahead of its roll-out. We also now use the online divorce system which has been piloted, which makes life much simpler for our clients and us.”

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About the Author
Andrew Caldicott, Partner, Head of Relationships and Family Law Team
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