Recently, our paralegal’s very young daughter, Emma, was exhibiting her frustration with not being able to tie her shoes. Our paralegal commented that things are changing and children’s shoes no longer all have laces which need to be tied.
After thinking about the situation, the paralegal decided to just take an old shoe, give it to Emma to place in front of her, and then let Emma practice tying at “eye level.” She then proceeded to tell Emma, “Hey, I’ve got a way to help you learn how to tie your shoes.” Emma’s response was, “Is it an App?”
Interestingly, we have all come to think that there is an App for almost everything. Thus the phrase, “There’s an App for that!” After hearing what Emma had asked, about an App to help you learn to tie your shoes, I started wondering if there was a “Divorce App.” I couldn’t imagine that there would be, but I decided to look online and see.
Looking online, I saw a number of programs or Apps which were available in the ‘pre-divorce’ area to help people list their assets and debts, or in the ‘post-divorce’ arena to help with keeping track of e-mails between parents and expenditures by parents for children’s health care, as well as calendars for parents’ schedules. I also saw a site in Ohio that looked like it might lead one to uncontested divorce paperwork or dissolution paperwork through the internet, but I couldn’t get deep enough into the questions to find out what was going to be covered by the paperwork.
Thinking about what we do in our practice, I realize that we offer advice and marital termination planning in relation to reviews of tax returns, and the running of different support and property division scenarios (based upon different assumptions). We also advise clients of potential “results” from the taking of different positions on different issues in front of different judges and magistrates. Our analysis of clients’ situations also must be based upon what we know about statutory concerns such as the length of a marriage, the ages of children, the health of the parties, the contributions of the parties to the marriage, the education of the parties, and any special needs of the parties or the children. We also have to take into consideration economics, motivation, and other goals of our clients. On top of this, we need to know the most recent applications of the law by the relevant judges and magistrates, and whether there are any new laws coming on the books. All of these things are very important to the proper representation of clients and must be considered before any plan of action can be formulated.
It is not only highly unlikely that any online program can do all of this, it is entirely impossible. I didn’t find any “Divorce Apps” online, per se, and I have firm conviction that there will never be one which will work.
In our practice we often come across “post decree” parties who “saved money” by either not having an attorney or (especially a few years ago) by doing a dissolution with a packet they purchased at a book store. The reason we are coming into contact with these people is because something is wrong and that something has made them come to us, usually years later, to “fix” it. Often times “fixing it” is not possible and most times, if it is possible it is very expensive—much more expensive than retaining an attorney for the original divorce or dissolution or child custody action would have been. The bottom line for marital terminations and child custody situations is that there is no App for that and probably never will be and never should be. A “fill in the blank” form cannot replace an educated human.