Family lawyer at OGR Stock Denton sceptical of so-called ‘robodivorces’

A family lawyer at OGR Stock Denton has expressed scepticism about the rise of so-called ‘robodivorces’.

Senior Associate Hayley Trovato made the comments following increasing suggestions that the divorce process could be taken online – something already being trialled by the Family Division of the High Court.

She said: “While in some respects I welcome many of the benefits technological advancements can offer for clients, there is one aspect of this futuristic world of family law that gives me cause for concern.

“Divorcing couples, when faced with the end of their relationship are in a state of heightened emotions. They are often confused, heartbroken, depressed, angry, bereft or fearful for the future. These are just some of the complex emotions that are inextricably linked to the trauma of the breakdown of a relationship.

“It is not possible to put these emotions into a computer and come up with a solutions. This is a time in their lives where communication is key.”

A few months ago the Family Division of the High Court launched a pilot scheme for online divorces at the East Midlands Divorce Centre, but Hayley suggested the system could have its drawbacks.

“Clients need human interaction so they can discuss the process ahead, to have someone to address their fears and concerns with and assess the realistic prospects of achieving what it is they want or need going forward.

“Clients can feel overwhelmed and need to be able to discuss all options available to them in the light of their own unique individual circumstances. Although Solicitors in their professional capacity are not there to act as a counsellor or therapist, the ability to offer understanding and advice on a human level should not be underestimated.

“While technology may be able to assist with the divorce process on a practical level, I cannot envisage and family law system which could operate effectively without a strong level of social understanding and empathy, which a binary system of computer technology will always find it difficult to achieve. Put simply: algorithms can never be a replacement for dialogue between humans.”

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