Digital divorce service to replace paper D8 form from September 2021

From Monday 13 September 2021, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will be mandating the digital divorce process. This means that legal representatives must submit applications for divorce online, using MyHMCTS rather than the paper D8 form.

Man working on a laptop

The Family Procedure Rules are due to be updated shortly to reflect this change.

Transition period

HMCTS will continue to process paper applications from Tuesday 14 September until Monday 4 October.

Any paper applications received from Tuesday 5 October 2021 will be returned.

Exceptions

The exceptions to using the digital online service are below. In these instances divorce applications should continue to be processed via the paper route:

  • civil partnership
  • judicial separation
  • nullity

Signing up to MyHMCTS

HMCTS strongly encourages signing up to MyHMCTS in good time for September by following these steps:

  • check that your firm is not already signed up to MyHMCTS (firms with probate departments may already have accounts); if your firm is using MyHMCTS, request a username and password from your administrator
  • if your firm has not signed up, register for the service – your firm needs to nominate an administrator to set the organisation up and manage the account
  • to register, organisations must have an active fee account (also known as payment by account, or PBA); registering for an account is easy and accounts are usually confirmed within three working days – if you have any questions about setting up an account, email MyHMCTSsupport@justice.gov.uk
  • once an account has been created, the administrator will be able to manage the account, add additional users and manage permissions 

Help and support

Guidance on applying for a divorce on MyHMCTS is available from the GOV.UK website.

You can also download the guide: ‘MyHMCTS: online case management for legal professionals’ (PDF 585 KB).

For further support, contact HMCTSFinancialRemedy@justice.gov.uk.

Share your feedback

We continue to engage with HMCTS about the online divorce service. We have stated that the system must be fit for purpose before it is mandated, particularly in light of the recent bug.

Karen DovastonKaren Dovaston, member of our Family Law Committee, said:

“We are working closely with HMCTS to give constructive advice to ensure that the digital service works well for both the professional user and our clients. With any digital system, there are improvements and adjustments to be made, particularly in the early phases of a project.

“We encourage all of our professional members to sign up for the digital system, get involved and to feedback to us any problems/issues that they come across so that we can cooperatively engage with HMCTS, creating improvements for all. Often, improvements come from continued use of the system and we encourage engagement from our members.

“If you have any questions or concerns, email HMCTScourtreform@lawsociety.org.uk.”

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