Family Law

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Divorce: the human touch vs technology

View profile for Susan Howarth
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Technology, the internet and online services have revolutionised the world as we know it and transformed the way we live on a daily basis – how we make friends, keep in touch with the world, find love, socialise, entertain ourselves, learn, shop, pay bills…etc. The list is endless.

Generation Z only knows life post “tech boom” and who knows what life will look like for the future ‘Generation Alpha’.

As technology advancement continues to surge forward, increasingly influencing what we do and how we do it, we ask the question: are there any exceptions?

Consider divorce – an often immensely painful, stressful and difficult process, frequently becoming complicated and messy when it comes to agreeing financial settlements and even moreso when children are involved.

Technology has linked in with divorce for some time - the provision of online divorce services is old news but we’re now firmly in the age of the app and there’s a new kid on the block. Say hello to the amicable app.


Divorce by App

Founded by a family counsellor and an IT Consultant, the amicable app is aimed at divorcing and separating couples, designed to help people reach a fairer divorce, simplify the process and reduce costs.

In June, the Guardian reported that the app combines emotional support and legal information with the tools to allow a couple to do all the admin required to get to a point where they can apply to a court to be legally separated - this includes disclosing assets, agreeing how they will be shared, new living and co-parenting arrangements where children are involved.


But can a screen replace a face?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to separation and divorce. Each couple, each marriage, each separation and each divorce is different – no two sets of circumstances are ever the same.

So it follows that different approaches to separation and divorce will appeal to, and successfully work for, different people – online services and apps all have a part to play.

However, in our experience, most people ultimately need and want a person rather than a screen to help them through what can be one of the most traumatic and emotional situations they are ever likely to experience.

A solicitor wears many hats – they’re an ear for a client, a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, someone who knows and understands what they’re going through and provides much-needed reassurance and support.

Is it really possible for technology, an app or otherwise, to offer a comparable level of emotional support?


Legal advice is key

Aside from the human interaction, sympathy, understanding and reassurance a solicitor offers throughout the divorce process, here’s the crunch – a solicitor will provide you with critical legal advice.

The amicable app provides users with legal information only, it does NOT offer legal advice. This can only be given by a solicitor and will ensure that a person fully understands what their options are and what they are entitled to.

Without independent legal advice, there is a significant chance that financial settlements are agreed that are grossly unfair and leave one party vulnerable and struggling to move on with their lives.

Yes, there’s room for many different methods but our advice is to seriously consider what you want and need, what’s best for you and your children – saving pennies now might have a much costlier impact later.


Here to help

At Susan Howarth & Company, we are here to help.

As members of Resolution First for Family Law, we adhere to a strict code of conduct that encourages both parties to reach an amicable agreement and to focus on children’s welfare.

We also understand that cost is a key consideration, which is we offer our clients a range of FREE drop-in legal clinics or a FREE half hour appointment, in addition to a range of affordable fixed free products and low income options. For more details, please e-mail us or call the office on 01606 48777.