Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Divorce App: A good idea or inAPPropriate?


Is mobile technology bringing people together or driving them apart?

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There is no doubt that technology strongly influences the way we live our lives and finding love is no exception. Ten years ago, if you said you met your other half online, you may have raised a few eyebrows.  Today, online dating is not only socially acceptable but a multi-million pound industry with companies such as eHarmony and match.com competing for the best relationship and marriage statistics.  The internet, followed by the explosion in mobile technology, has made it easier to meet people than ever before.  And that is not the only area of our lives that has benefited from the mobile revolution.  You can now go shopping from your mobile to find the perfect first date outfit or search to find the most romantic restaurants and how to get there.  When it comes to finding love we now have access to all the information we could possibly need simply by reaching inside our pockets.

What about the end of a relationship? Can technology help to make a break up that much easier?  Should it?  The government has recently launched an app called “Sorting out Separation” to help people who are facing a divorce or the breakdown in a relationship. This may seem long overdue in the age of having an app for everything but it has come under criticism from those who are concerned that making divorce too easy could devalue marriage.

The app itself offers some basic advice on how to avoid conflict and provides a database of useful resources which the separating person might find useful with an emphasis on protecting children.  It covers everything from counseling to child maintenance and everything in between.  Many of the topics covered would often be raised in a first meeting with a solicitor.  Previous generations in a similar situation would have picked up the phone having no option but to consult a solicitor for clear guidance.  The next generation will have grown up in a world of WiFi, smart phones and super fast internet speeds with a universe of apps putting vast amounts of information at their fingertips.  Combine this with the upcoming cuts in legal aid and it is difficult to imagine that this app will not be well used by those trying to navigate the many legal and emotional issues they are suddenly faced with when a relationship ends.

But does making the process of divorce easier devalue the institution of marriage?  The app is not providing anything dramatically new, just presenting information that is already on the internet it in a new accessible format. What do you think?

Vote in the poll!

16 comments:

  1. In addition to helping create and end relationship - technology is also impacting family law. In Australia, it's estimated that photos/comments from social media are being used to discredit people in 20% of Family Court proceedings. In the UK, a spouse’s behaviour on Facebook is now cited in a third of UK divorces in which unreasonable behaviour was a factor. Unfortunately, social media's impact on family law does not stop there - as it’s also now a major tool for divorce-related bullying (e.g. continuing communication, posting nasty messages, hacking accounts, etc). More: Family & The Law (Family Law Portal)

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  2. Many thanks for your comment and for getting involved.

    Technology and specifically social media is definitely influencing family law more and more. The law has had to catch up fast and so has the advice in relation to behaviour and privacy/security measures that people need to consider.

    Another area where there are growing problems in the UK is in adoption cases where the birth parent tries to re-establish contact with the child (or vice versa) using social media and there are no support or safety mechanisms in place. With access to the internet everywhere it is very difficult to monitor such behaviour and there is no way of undoing the contact once it has been made. Lots to think about...

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