New Practice Direction issued for next stage of online divorce

11 Jan 2019 | 2 min read

The Family Procedure Rule Committee has issued a new pilot Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), PD 36L to facilitate the next stage of development of the online divorce system and supersede the current pilot practice direction, FPR 2010, PD 36E.  FPR 2010, PD 36L will be ready for use from Monday 14 January 2019.

The current pilot commenced on 1 May 2018 and allows litigants in person to submit their divorce application online. The next stage of the pilot contains four key new features, modifying existing procedure rules under the FPR 2010 to:

  • allow a respondent or a co-respondent to a divorce application to file their acknowledgment of service online
  • enable the applicant to apply for decree nisi online
  • enable the applicant to give notice for the decree nisi to be made absolute online, and
  • permit service of those orders, and other documents where appropriate, via the online system rather than by hard copy (where users confirm they are willing to accept service in this manner)

The first two features listed above will be rolled out on a phased basis based on the ground of divorce (starting with behaviour) from the 16 January 2019, with the other two features to become available in due course.

FPR 2010, PD 36E will remain in force in relation to any applications that were commenced under the pilot scheme referred to in that Practice Direction, and FPR 2010, PD 36L (and any Practice Directions that supersede it) will not apply in relation to such applications.

The new Practice Direction can be accessed here.

Geraldine Morris is a solicitor and head of LexisPSL Family.

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