Government pilot scheme sees Co-op Legal Services speed up divorce process

Divorce proceedings have been reduced from 12 months to 8 weeks under the new digital initiative

Co-op Legal Services has seen a drastic reduction in the length of the divorce process since signing up to two new government pilots aimed at cutting down errors and common causes of delays.

The pilots are part of government plans to modernise the courts and reduce the need for complex paperwork. They focus on making divorce digital – removing the requirement for hard copies of divorce papers and financial orders to be posted to the courts for review. The new initiative allows the papers to be uploaded directly to a dedicated judge – streamlining a previously time-intensive and costly process.

Since the pilots launched, Co-op Legal Services has seen the time taken for a divorce to be processed reduce by 83%. The organisation found that, on average, a straight forward divorce takes up to 12 months. Since implementing the pilots, the time has been cut to an average of eight weeks.

With around 100,000 divorces a year in the UK, the changes could have a significant effect on people’s lives if they are rolled out nationally and made a permanent part of the legal process. Campaigners hope it could make the process easier not just for the separating parties but also for any children involved, with process will not prolonged if couples decide their marriage is beyond reconciliation.

Tracey Moloney, head of family law at Co-op Legal Services, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to be part of these innovative government pilots aimed to make the process more succinct for our clients.

“Going through a divorce is often a stressful and emotionally taxing experience. We know that it can be an extremely difficult and heart-wrenching time for families, and lives can be turned upside down as a result. So we welcome any new initiatives that can help to change this for our clients.’’

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