With this app, I thee divorce - Macleans.ca

With this app, I thee divorce

DivorceApps.com aims at helping people who can’t afford the services of a lawyer


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Most people going through a divorce could probably do without the stress and expense of endless consultations with a lawyer. Now, some—in the U.S., anyway—can consult with their iPhones instead.

A new company out of Dallas, called DivorceApps.com, is selling iPhone applications aimed at helping people who “can’t afford the services of a lawyer and need to help themselves,” says family lawyer Michelle May O’Neil, its co-creator. O’Neil’s company, which launched in March, sells two apps through the iTunes store (both cost US$9.99). The Cost & Prep app helps people “calculate the hidden costs of divorce,” she says, from the “double cost of housing,” to extra kids’ clothes, down to “how much it costs to park at a lawyer’s office.” It also helps create a list of necessary documents, saving money on “the back-and-forth with a lawyer,” O’Neil says.

Another, called Estate Divider, helps couples keep track of who gets what, including alimony. More apps, like a calendar to help exes set the dates and times they take care of the kids, are on the way.

Lorne MacLean, managing partner of MacLean Family Law Group in Vancouver, doesn’t know of any divorce apps tailored to Canadian law—yet. “We’re looking at creating an iPhone and an iPad app,” he says, to help people understand the process of divorce, get articles and updates on developments in the law, and provide tips for better results.

Maybe because they’re so new, divorce apps don’t seem to have sparked a backlash in the legal community. People in Canada can, in some cases, get divorced without a lawyer, but the apps’ designers insist their creations aren’t meant to eliminate lawyers from the process, only to make it simpler. In fact, some lawyers are using them, too. Jimmy Verner, a Texas lawyer who created a child-support calculator app, says he’s heard of lawyers using his app in court, “walking up to the bench and saying, ‘Here’s how much [my client] should owe.’ ”

When O’Neil got an iPhone, “it seemed there were so few apps [with] real-world applications,” she says. With the iPad and iPhone 4G, the divorce app category is expected to grow. For many people, after all, divorce is as real as it gets.


With this app, I thee divorce

  1. Nothing like making divorce easier and easier to do! I remember a time when divorce wasn't treated like sending an undercooked meal back at a restaurant.

  2. I've never been married, but I'm accumulating a collection of divorce stories. Pretty much horror stories, all. The most recent is my Mom and Stepdad getting a divorce. They both want to make it a clean and easy thing, filled out some package that was supposed to cover all the legal ground, it just needed a lawyers signature (or somesuch thing)… After some very expensive consultations, lawyers informed them this package was no good and they need to use the lawyers full services ($$$).

    This is the PEACEFUL divorce, and they're still trying to just get it done with months later! The turbulent divorces take away years of peoples lives. I think marriage can be a wonderful thing, but there's something seriously wrong with the legal aspect!

    • That's why they have divorce mediation. You don't need a lawyer.

  3. Well, that's one way to find out that your spouse is unhappy.

    * Opens up the Visa statement… DivorceApps.com? WTF?!? *

  4. I'm from BrainwashInc.com – we developed the apps for DivorceApps.com. It's a sad statement that divorce is so common these days, but our client realizes the reality of divorces being common and wants to help w/ these apps. Maybe I sdn't speak for them, but I really appreciate their attitude and I dislike divorce as much as anyone.
    They both work in the field and stand to benefit from people spending money on divorce yet they pose their app as a deterrent to divorce. The app is basically telling you: Do you really want to spend this much to get divorced? If you're determined, this will tell you how much work you'll need to do, but also help you do it instead of paying a lawyer $$$/hour to tell you what this app does for a small fraction of the cost.
    I don't see the apps as making divorce easy. More, they show you what to expect in time, cost, work, effort which can deter some… for others it can save time and money and ultimately… hopefully, lessen the pain of an already bad situation.
    Just my $.02 USD. ;)

  5. It's the laywers!! they have no thought for the people, only lining there own pockets. They are greedy bastards and the more they can extend their 'clients' suffering the more they can wring out of them. Why have laws that make divorce a horror show? It costs the parents, it costs the kids and it costs society

  6. I like how most people seem to think it's the lawyers who cost the couple big money in a divorce. If the couple could decide their affairs in a civilized manner, the lawyers should only be there to complete the paperwork for the divorce and formalize the agreement.

    What costs people big money is that they can't decide who'll take the dog, how much spousal support to pay and how to split the tupperware. It costs a lot of money because people can't agree or play fair. Is that the lawyer's fault or a function of the fact you can't get along or agree on much with your ex-spouse?

  7. forget about the divorcce aspecdt…let's talk about the implications of the children….why is it that parents can use their children to attack one another…this is child abuse in my opinon.