Couples should be Wary of Online Divorce Programs

You probably know at least one couple that met online, but do you know any couples that got their divorce online?  It may sound strange, but a new program called Wevorce is attempting to corner the divorce market by offering a simplified online divorce solution that is cheaper than the in-person process.

According to the company, Wevorce is a software program that promises to simplify the divorce process using a six-step system.  The program eliminates the need for separate divorce attorneys, but as we’ve written about before, not pursuing legal counsel during a divorce can cost you thousands of dollars down the road.

According to Co-founder Michelle Crosby, Wevorce has “built a referral network of attorneys that we call Hevorce and Shevorce attorneys who agree to review the pleadings and file them with the court for a flat fee.”

Simply stated, the online divorce program provides attorneys to review information to ensure it is legally in order, but they have little incentive to provide you with insights or fight for your rights.  Since you’ve paid a flat fee, the lawyer’s job is to make sure your divorce gets finalized, not that you get everything you’re entitled to.

The reason people should hire an attorney is the same reason a people pay to have their taxes examined.  In both cases, you’re paying someone to ensure you get as much money or property as possible.

Ms. Crosby admitted that her program might not be for everyone.

“We are not for everyone, there is already an existing court system for those that want to fight it out,” said Crosby.

While Ms. Crosby appears to take a dig at the current system, insinuating that all divorces that end up in court are messy, the larger issue is that lack of personalized advice clients receive from a one-size-fits-all program. Family Law Attorney Amanda Crain spoke about pitfalls of such online programs;

“Individuals need to be extremely cautious of online divorce programs.  While these programs often promote a ‘simple divorce,’ they can oftentimes lead to a larger mess after the divorce is final.

Even if the program assures that attorneys are reviewing the divorce documents before they are filed, oftentimes those attorneys are not providing specific, individualized legal advice in regards to important issues like finances, custody, or parenting time.

For example, parties may agree to a division of one parties’ retirement account.  An online program would look it over and determine the agreement is legally sound.  What it won’t do is inform the parties of the potential tax implications of transferring such funds to their spouse.

One-size-fits-all solutions don’t work when it comes to divorce.  Every divorce is different and should be treated as such.  You’re much better off seeking out an experienced attorney who knows the laws as it pertains to a specific state, as some of these programs may not meet the legal standards of every state.

If you are deadest on using an online program, go ahead, but I encourage you to hire an attorney to review the documents before they are finalized.  That way there won’t be any unexpected surprises down the road.” 

Related source:  DailyMail.co.uk

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 Couples should be Wary of Online Divorce Programs

Amanda Crain

Amanda is a partner and family law attorney at Heimerl & Lammers. She is passionate about helping Minnesotans in child support, child custody, and domestic abuse cases. Amanda received her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She currently lives in Minneapolis and enjoys traveling and running in her spare time.