Collaborative Divorce Software
June 6, 2013
The collaborative divorce method is where a married couple, either by themselves or with the assistance of professionals, agree upon the terms of their divorce judgment prior to filing for divorce. The theory is that, without the adversarial pressures of the family court and the “system” [i.e. Friend of the Court], these parties are free to explore and negotiate options that make sense for them, not the Court and the lawyers.
Professional assistance usually takes the form of divorce lawyers, counselors, church leaders, and now, specialized collaborative divorce software known as Wevorce. This West Coast start-up was founded by Michelle Crosby, a product of the old-school divorce process. Introducing her divorce tool product on the company website, Ms. Crosby tell us that her parents waged a 15-year war over her parenting time.
According to the ABA Journal, the “up-front” cost to purchase the software for a family is about $6500; many individual spouses would spend north of $5000 on divorce lawyers, each, depending on the case.
The idea behind the cloud-based software, not yet available here in Michigan, is to prompt the divorcing couple to “populate” their divorce documents with customized and customizable clauses on the usual divorce issues of child custody, support, parenting time and division of the marital estate, both assets and debts. The philosophy embedded into the software is taken from the collaborative divorce process: discuss and negotiate prior to a formal divorce filing so that when the official pleadings are filed, it’s already a “done deal”, presumably with a signed settlement agreement or judgment of divorce.
While the price and the process sure is alluring, it is not for everyone. Some couples will not be able to put their deep-seated differences aside to accommodate this software any more than they can sit through a series of marital counseling sessions.
It is nice, however, to have a collaborative model available to those couples that do not wish to spend the children’s college savings on attorneys. We shall see whether the Wevorce software ever becomes available here in Michigan.