Online Divorce Is Possible – But Is It Smart?


Couples looking to divorce have traditionally engaged with divorce attorneys who have helped them work out their disagreements and finalize things in court. However, technology offers a new option: online divorce. How do you feel about that? Online divorce may be possible, but is it smart?

Online divorce actually isn’t new. However, it has recently come to the forefront as a result of the COVID pandemic. While courts were closed to in-person civil litigation, cases were moved online in jurisdictions with the right technology. It has all led to a very interesting question: if court proceedings can be conducted online with a judge, why can’t the judge be eliminated completely for online divorces?

In reality, online divorce doesn’t really eliminate the court. It cannot. Divorce is ultimately a legal proceeding. Therefore, a judge must get involved at some point. What online divorce can do is give couples a way to work out the details of their settlement remotely. They can do everything online and then only meet with the judge – online or in person – to finalize the settlement.

Amicable, Uncontested Divorces

Moving on to whether or not online divorce is a smart idea, it is an option best reserved for couples who don’t actually hate one another’s guts. Those willing to work out an amicable, uncontested divorce settlement can probably do things online with very few issues.

On the other hand, couples uninterested in being amicable are better off working with experienced divorce attorneys. They need that in-person experience that taps into an attorney’s professional perspective. Otherwise, online divorces can encourage tunnel vision that only incites further conflict.

The divorce attorneys at ABM Family Law in Chicago, Illinois explained that, while technology increases efficiency and accuracy, it cannot take the place of human legal advice. They recommend against online divorce in most cases.

Eliminating the Personal Component

A major characteristic of online divorce is its ability to remove the personal component. That may be good or bad, depending on your point of view. If you are divorcing a spouse you absolutely cannot bear to be around, a lack of personal contact might be a godsend. Likewise, you might not want to deal directly with an attorney because every interaction only reminds you of your spouse.

On the other hand, there are people who genuinely need a certain level of personal support while going through divorce. They find comfort sitting down and speaking with their attorneys. They are made stronger by the counsel and advice they receive. For them, online divorce is simply too impersonal to work.

Divorce Is Never Easy

ABM divorce attorneys remind clients that divorce is never easy. Even the most amicable of settlements leads to consequences that forever change the lives of both parties. With that in mind, it is foolish to pursue online divorce under the false assumption that it’s as easy as logging on to Amazon and buying something.

The obvious benefit of online divorce is the efficient exchange of information. Conducting things online eliminates the inefficiencies of making phone calls, filing paper documents, visiting with attorneys in their offices, and so forth. But it doesn’t make the actual reality of divorce any easier to deal with. In the end, divorce settlements are reached between people, not electronic devices.

Thinking about divorce? If so, doing it online is one option. It might not be the smartest option for you and your spouse. Give careful consideration to all your options. Do not just assume that doing things online is the best way to go. It may actually cause more trouble than it prevents.

Eric Lilly
the authorEric Lilly