Wevorce: There’s an App for Dating. Why not Divorce?

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Courtesy image.

A Wevorce office. Courtesy image.

Wevorce is the latest technology in the dissolution of marriages. Think of it as “we divorce.” It’s an application you can simply download on your phone.

The app is centered around mitigating negative impacts to children involved in divorces while addressing legal, emotional, and financial issues. It takes less time and money than typical adversarial approaches.

“It’s not for everybody,” said local attorney Hilary Bell, an associate in Wevorce’s nationwide network of divorce professionals. “But it should help most people considering divorce. It keeps people out of the courtroom.”

A tablet screenshot of Wevorce.

A tablet screenshot of Wevorce.

Bell is an attorney and family law mediator. She graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law and has been practicing law for three years. She also gives back to the community by volunteering at the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center – but she wants to do more. She believes heartache and financial hardship can be avoided with the combination of mediation assisted by online software that Wevore provides.

Wevorce is not simply a mobile app, it’s also an online software platform that you can access on your computer, like the way H&R Block or TurboTax apps are used for taxes. But it’s not just technology, Bell provides a human touch.

Hilary Bell

Hilary Bell

“You access the cloud based software to do homework in between sessions, just like you would upload financial information and documentation for online tax preparation,” Bell said. “It’s secure and confidential. The sessions are held in person in my office, or I can conduct virtual meetings online via video conferencing.

“It’s more like computer-assisted mediation,” she said.

Click here to view the Wevorce brochure.

Pain is often the catalyst for change. Such is the case for the founders of Wevorce.

“Michelle Crosby, co-founder of Wevorce, created this system because she had a traumatic experience as a child of divorce,” Bell said. “As a kid, she was forced to go on the stand and choose which parent she was to live with. So Crosby created this platform so parents could deal with the process with less suffering for the children.”

Since Crosby and co-founder Jeff Reynolds originally launched in Boise, Idaho, they’ve since moved their headquarters to San Francisco and opened up offices in San Jose, Oakland, Palo Alto and Newark in California as well as Seattle and Everett in Washington – and now San Antonio.

In the traditional system of divorce, the lawyers always win and the children always lose.

“Collaborative divorce has been used since 2001 in Texas, but it can get rather costly,” Bell said. “The parties hire separate lawyers to work out a divorce agreement outside of court. However, if the collaborative attorneys cannot settle the case, then the couple proceeds to litigation and all that is time and money wasted. Collaborative divorce is part of my practice and helps keep things amicable, but can be cost prohibitive to many.

“Adversarial divorce is the traditional divorce,” she added. “This system pits one parent against another. When two attorneys fight it out, they are often throwing gas on a fire that is already burning.”

But there are better ways to end a marriage without the trauma.

“In an uncontested divorce, people work it out for themselves,” Bell said. But since communication usually breaks down even in the best of divorces, it helps to have a mediator in the middle.

The conference/mediation room in Hilary Bell's San Antonio office.

The conference/mediation room in Hilary Bell’s San Antonio office. Courtesy photo.

“Mediation is what Wevorce is about,” Bell said, using one attorney for both parties.

The divorce app aims to save each party’s time and money.

“I offer Wevorce in my practice at a flat fee starting at $1,200; filing fees are separate,” Bell said. “More complex cases would be up to $5,000, which is still a lot less expensive than traditional methods of divorce. Additional costs could come if the couple need financial or counseling professionals involved as well.”

In a traditional divorce, if the parties are not antagonistic towards each other in the beginning, lawyers will often ensure they are at the end. Such is the nature of the adversarial process.

“(Wevorce) empowers people to resolve the issue themselves.”

More divorces are filed by women than men. This is not the case with Wevorce.

“I’d say I have been contacted by slightly more men initiating Wevorce at this point,” Bell said. “But both parties must cooperate and agree to the process if Wevorce is to work. Neither can force the other to participate.”

There is a five-step process – four, if there are no child custody issues – in a Wevorce.

“One is the foundation building,” Bell said. “This is the where we establish the rules of the road. A contract is laid out; it’s as binding as a temporary order.”

“Two is parenting planning,” she said.” Who is going to have the kids – and for how long? What about child support? Counselors can serve as co-mediators to help resolve sticky issues.”

Step three is discussion of the household budget and the collection of financial due diligence in the online software.

“We will upload income tax records,” she said.

The fourth step is financial planning.

“We look at the assets, the communal property, tax liability, and other economic concerns,” she said. “We can also get financial advisers involved if there are complex concerns.”

Review of the final document is the fifth step.

“After we catalog all arrangements, everybody agrees what the divorce will look like,” she said. “After this step, the couple will file for divorce.

Wevorce uses one attorney mediator for both parties.

“That’s me,” Bell said. “A judge will give you a one-size-fits-all T-shirt. I will give you a custom-tailored suit.”

No one goes into a marriage expecting divorce. But divorce can create some unusual unions.

“Wevorce is a marriage of technology and law,” Bell said. “It lets clients do the homework themselves. I hope I can help more couples try to untie the knot in a way that allows them to walk away with resolution, rather than resentment.”

 

*Featured/top image: A Wevorce office. Courtesy image.

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