CANBERRA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- A website aimed at streamlining divorces and helping couples avoid expensive legal fees has been launched in Australia.
The site, called amica, was developed by National Legal Aid with 3 million Australian dollars (2.06 million U.S. dollars) in government funding.
It uses technology to guide separating couples to amicable agreements on parenting arrangements and property settlements without hefty legal bills.
The settlement tool uses an artificial intelligence (AI) program to search through a database of past court judgments to provide a recommendation on how a former couple should divide their assets based on their unique circumstances.
South Australian man 'Kim,' who used an alias, told News Corp Australia that he and his former spouse used amica in its testing phase after being told that their divorce would cost each party 20,000 Australian dollars (13,744 U.S. dollars) in legal fees.
"It was absolutely fabulous. Amica helped us create a document that has allowed us to move forward with the care of our kids, which was a godsend," he said.
"It's unfortunate that people go through this but, at the same time, if there is a third party or a system like amica that helps you come to common ground, that makes the conversation that little bit easier.
"It's taking a lot of pressure off us when it comes to working out what the next step is."
According to data released by The Separation Guide, a divorce information group, earlier in June there has been a 314 percent increase in the number of couples thinking about separating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Research by National Legal Aid found that 78 percent of Australians going through a divorce were willing to use a service like amica.
"There are almost 50,000 divorces each year in Australia... amica will encourage people to log on instead of lawyering up," National Legal Aid director and project chief Gabrielle Canny said.
"Technology isn't going to replace lawyers, and amica isn't suitable for all couples but it will ensure people are better informed and better equipped to reduce the number of areas in which they disagree." Enditem