On 17 July we were notified that a new style of divorce petition is being introduced and should be used from 7 August. This is as usual a very short notice period for a fairly major change! Luckily there is a transitional period and old style petitions will be accepted until 4 September. Frustratingly the court website still has the old form and there appears to be no mention of the new form so this lack of joined up thinking is going to create a lot of returned petitions in the next few weeks!
The new divorce petition can be found here. In many ways this is an improvement. The language is clearer and there is more guidance to help people complete the form properly. The changes could and should have been made a long time ago. It’s a shame it’s being introduced in such a clumsy way.
The form is designed with a nod towards “online divorce” which is likely to be introduced next year. This is good news – the divorce process can and should be made simpler and more efficient. People shouldn’t waste money paying for a process which is becoming more and more administrative. The system should encourage separating couples to focus their energy on sorting out arrangements for their children, and also finances, rather than being distracted by a confusing and outdated divorce process.