There is a new ground-breaking digital service called Amica that is designed to assist couples to separate amicably. Amica supports separated couples to negotiate how their assets are to be divided, and work out parenting arrangements at their own pace, in their own time and in their own space and record their agreements in plain language.
For property matters, Amica uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to suggest the split of assets, taking into account the couple’s particular circumstances, the kinds of agreements reached by couples in similar situations and how the Courts generally handle disputes of similar nature.
Amica is accessible for free until the end of the year. From 1 January 2021, a nominal fee (between $165 and $440 per couple) will be charged to fund ongoing maintenance and development of the tool.
Interestingly, there is a range of AI-powered family legal services used in Australia, including Penda and Adieu. Penda aims to help victims of family violence by providing free legal and safety information using its AI chatbot without requiring a face-to-face meeting with a lawyer. Adieu assists couples to achieve amicable financial and parenting agreements via its AI chatbot component ‘Lumi’, which can refer couples to mediators, counsellors, lawyers or financial advisers if required.
AI tools such as Amica, Penda and Adieu enable couples to resolve problems themselves and avoid the slow and expensive Court process.
Using AI-tools may be cheaper, but how helpful are they really?
Despite a number of advantages, AI tools for settling legal disputes come with setbacks. They are not helpful in many cases. For example, with Amica, it is designed to suit “amicable” separating couples. At its current development level, Amica is not suitable where couples are in complex situations, such as where family violence is involved.
In parenting disputes, there are legitimate concerns that parenting suggested arrangements from AI-powered tools may ignore the needs of children and only reflect the interests of parents – whereas child’s best interests is the paramount consideration when deciding a parenting case.
In addition, trying to work out a property settlement without proper legal advice can have negative long-term consequences including the real danger of making bad choices with parenting arrangements and unwise settlements. Delicate and complex separation situations require the expertise of family lawyers to help clients understand their rights and provide specific legal advice tailored to each couples’ situation. As every couple’s situation is different, Amica cannot advise people of the intricacies of how the principles under the Family Law Act apply to their particular situation.
Aside from concerns about data and privacy protection, not everyone has the ability to access online platforms or have the technological skills to use these apps which may require a certain amount of digital literacy.
In most cases, property settlements and parenting disputes really do require a human touch. Albeit if your separation is amicable, obtaining proper legal advice will ensure you end up with a reasonable enforceable agreement which will no doubt save you money in the long run. At Nevett Ford, whilst we understand that real life lawyers may be a more costly alternative than AI tools, we can assist you in reducing legal fees by negotiating an early agreement if your circumstances permit and support you every step of the way through your separation. If you need assistance with a family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Nevett Ford at 03 9614 7111 or by email email@example.com.