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Real life client builds first divorce app with North London family lawyer

14 April 2011

A family solicitor at a 12-partner North London firm has launched the first divorce application in Britain which, for £9.99, promises “great legal advice for those contemplating divorce”.

Called simply ‘Divorce?’ the app was produced by developers HG Apps Store, whose chairman Andrew Muir had instructed family lawyer Peter Martin, head of family at Finchley-based OGR Stock Denton, as mediator in his own divorce.

Martin, a trained collaborative lawyer, agreed to provide the legal content for the app and said the aim was not so much to make it easier or cheaper to divorce but to make it easier for people contemplating divorce to find information about it before embarking on the process.

“Non-confrontational approaches advocated by Resolution are having positive results in the way divorces are handled but people often still walk into a solicitor’s office as the first step in the divorce process,” Martin told Solicitors Journal.

“By that stage things tend to escalate and people only get out of litigation at the other end when the divorce is pronounced by the courts,” he continued.

The app, Martin explained, should help people consider whether their marriage cannot be salvaged. If divorce remains the chosen option, his app will guide clients through a process including how to choose a lawyer.

One feature of the app is a list of questions clients choose ask their solicitors before instructing them. “The number of cases a divorce solicitor has taken to trial in the past few years should give an indication of his approach and whether he will pursue collaboration or mediation in preference to litigation,” he continued, before adding: “For a collaborative lawyer, seeing a case go to trial is almost a failure”.

Martin, who is also an examiner for the Law Society’s family law panel, said his app would not replace face-to-face advice.

“Online services should be banned,” he said. “My experience of clients is that except in the most simple of cases – for instance where there are no children, the marriage is short, and there are no huge emotional and financial issues – clients need personal advice and support. Even if it’s just one session when they check exactly what is being proposed and what’s there for both of them.”

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Divorce Children