Last time, we began looking at a smartphone app marketed as helping those considering divorce to cut out the involvement of attorneys in the early stages of divorce, which is sometimes called divorce planning. Without actually taking a look at the app and seeing the features of the program and the kind of advice and direction it is giving, it is hard to make judgments about it.
We will caution readers, though, against the mentality that an attorney may be helpful in divorce, but not necessary. The purpose of working with an attorney is not to add another layer of cost and complexity to the divorce process, but to ensure your rights are represented in divorce and that you have guidance navigating the process.
Divorce can be many things to many people. In some cases, there are no issues being contested in a divorce and it is a straight filing of papers. That may work for some couples, but many will have issues that need to be resolved. The two big areas where parties’ rights come into play are property division and child custody. Some couples will have more issues than others to work through in divorce. Other couples may seem not to have major disagreements, but the agreements they have reached—whether formal or not—may not be in the interests of one party or may not be enforceable in court. In some cases that may be a good thing.
The truth is that having a zealous advocate is critical to ensuring one isn’t taken advantage of in divorce. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with using an app or other online advice when preparing for divorce, but it is important to realize that an app cannot take the place of an experienced local attorney.