Obtaining divorces will be made even easier following the launch of the Co-op’s online divorce service, in a move criticised as weakening the institution of marriage.
Couples can make enquiries online, speak to a solicitor over the phone and pay just £1,150 to legally break their lifelong commitment.
The Co-op claims uncontested divorces (where one party admits fault) dealt with in this way will take an estimated four to six months – down from the present six to nine months.
Divorces have been available online across the UK since October, after the Ministry of Justice decided it could help save £250 million a year.
While other companies have been offering online divorces since then, the Co-op will now be the largest and most well-known company to do so.
Tracey Moloney, the firm’s head of family law, predicted the change could result in a 50 per cent increase in people using its divorce services.
Campaign Director for Coalition for Marriage (C4M) Thomas Pascoe said the Co-op’s attempt to make divorce easier was “very disappointing”.
He said: “Around one in ten petitioners abandons divorce proceedings before the decree absolute is issued, and protecting these couples is the reason that delays are built into the current system.
“Far from easing the pain of divorcing couples, the Co-op’s new service will only serve to ensure families break down which might otherwise have remained together given time to reflect.”