E-divorce on the rise as Oz couples go online to end marriages

Adelaide, Dec 28 (ANI): Australian couples seeking divorce are now increasingly doing it through the Internet, with more than 250 people using an online service in almost 18 months.

The Federal Magistrates Court introduced its "e-filing" separation option in September 2009, allowing spouses to take the first step towards official separation over the Internet.

In South Australia, there were 3663 divorces last year, up from 3466 in 2008, and in the past 15 months, 268 have applied to end their marriage online.

Another service that has been flagged by the Federal Magistrates Court is an alert being sent via text message to men and women after their divorce has been granted.

Earlier this month Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed the number of people divorcing nationally increased by 4.7 percent in 2009, the first rise since 2001.

Australian Institute for Social Research executive director Dr John Spoehr said many organisations had started to offer their services online in recent years and being able to apply for a divorce was no different.

"The movement towards online service provision has been huge, whether that's law, health, community services . . . it's been pretty profound these past few years," Adelaide Now quoted him as saying.

"It's a way of reducing admin costs and it's certainly more convenient for people to access this type of thing online," he stated.

Family Law Courts chief executive Richard Foster said the online divorce option was particularly helpful for people living in regional and remote areas.

"The aim is to improve access to justice and to assist self-represented litigants who comprise 85 percent of divorce applicants," he said.

"It does not mean that people can get divorced online, this service simply provides people with an alternative way to file their applications, in addition to the traditional way by post or in person at a family law registry," he added. (ANI)

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