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Technology seeks to simplify divorce process

This month a new iPhone application that allows Massachusetts users to calculate alimony and child support payments from their mobile devices was released. The calculator requires the user to enter the relevant information, and then the app fills in the child support or separate maintenance form in a format recognized by state courts.

This is just one new advancement in the shift towards a more hands-on, do-it-yourself approach to divorce, which has become popular since the difficult economic times of the past few years have encouraged most people to curtail expenses wherever possible.

Some people say they simply do not have the money to hire a traditional divorce attorney, while others say that their meager assets make for minimal property division and a rather simple divorce. As one recent divorcee noted," If you don't have much, there isn't that much to settle." While this may be true, some attorneys warn that divorcing spouses may lose much more over time if they choose not to let a professional handle their case, regardless of the perceived assets on the line.

The trend is probably going to continue, and for people seeking to end their divorce quickly and mutually, using do-it-yourself software or services may be a convenient option. In fact, most of the same information is available online and provided by the court services websites of many states. However, some question whether the court may become bogged down by so many do-it-yourselfers trying to navigate an often complex legal system.

Massachusetts residents may be able to get a brief snapshot of their alimony or child support situation by using a mobile app or online service, but ultimately there is no substitute for the in-depth knowledge of an experienced family law attorney.

Source: ABA Journal, "New App Calculates Alimony and Divorce Payments in Massachusetts," by Stephanie Francis Ward, Sept. 6, 2012

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