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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it is going to examine claims made by online divorce services, offering quickie divorces.

This follows complaints made by the customers and around misleading claims that have been made concerning the simplicity of the process, prices and the services often not bringing about the conclusion they had claimed to.

Customers have also complained about the inadequate quality of service, including completion of the wrong forms, incorrect details being entered, and papers being sent to the court late.

Such services are in the most part unregulated and so the CMA regard it as being even more important that they comply with normal consumer protection laws.

Quickie divorces have grabbed the headlines in recent years, boasting of divorces far quicker than the norm and at minimal cost. The Court will not process a divorce any quicker whether you are using an online provider or a specialist family solicitor though. My main exposure to such firms has been through unsatisfied customers looking to us to help correct errors that have been made by specialist quickie divorce companies.

Often, this will arise where a couple have been divorced but their financial claims have not been fully concluded. Couples may complete the divorce process thinking everything is sorted out, only to find that they face a financial claim from their former spouse several years later. This might include claims on their property, claims for maintenance, a claim for a share of their pensions or sometimes all three.

Last year our Family Law team obtained data from the Information Commissioner suggesting that 65% of all couples in England and Wales who obtain a divorce are in this position. It is worrying how many people have potentially been through the quickie divorce process and haven’t realised just how exposed they still are to such claims.

This ongoing exposure to claims from former spouses, coupled with suggestions of misleading prices and practice would suggest the CMA review cannot come a moment too soon.