Govt’s online divorce service used on Christmas Day

Jan 10, 2019

Christmas Day. A time for food, the Queen’s Speech and… divorce?

According to official figures, 455 divorce petitions were filed between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day – with 13 on December 25.

The system was only introduced in April. Previously couples had to fill out paper forms and send them to a court.

It’s another example of Whitehall’s undermining of marriage that we have seen so much of in recent years.

And yet the Government claimed the move online was positive! Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: “It’s encouraging to see people are reporting these services work well for them and are a better fit around their busy lives.”

But former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith struck a different tone, describing the statistics as “depressing”. He warned against “encouraging people to head to divorce at the drop of a hat”.

Overall, according to the Ministry of Justice figures, more than 23,000 online divorce applications have been made in England and Wales since April 2018.

The Government’s whole approach to divorce is very disappointing.

Around one in ten petitioners abandons divorce proceedings before the decree absolute is issued. Delays in the current system increase the chances of reconciliation.

Far from easing the pain of divorcing couples, the Government’s online service will only serve to ensure families break down which might otherwise have remained together given time to reflect.