A US company looking to re-engineer the divorce process through an innovative technology platform and process has laid out its plans to come to the UK, Legal Futures can reveal.
Wevorce – which describes itself as a mediation-enabling technology company – recently raised $1.7m (£1m) in new funding to help grow its business, and founder Michelle Crosby told this website that she intends to expand to the UK in 2015 having received strong interest.
Ms Crosby said Wevorce is “divorce for grown-ups”. It draws on mediation and collaborative law and eschews the traditional two-lawyer system to have both spouses instead guided by a single lawyer-mediator known as a “Wevorce architect”.
Co-parenting and financial experts are called in when needed in a bid to address the legal, emotional and financial aspects of divorce. It is only appropriate where the parties are committed to achieving an amicable parting.
The technology is used to standardise the process where appropriate and manage the case, but the spouses meet their architect in person at local offices. So far 99% of couples that have used Wevorce have been kept out of court.
Ms Crosby said she currently has 28 architects operating from 10 offices on the west coast of America, and the goal is to double in size every quarter and grow nationally before going international. A recent recruitment drive saw 500 applicants.
Wevorce was born out of Ms Crosby’s own traumatic experience as a child of divorce. At the age of nine, she was asked in court which parent she wanted to live with, and her parents’ court battles lasted 15 years. She became a family lawyer and this year launched Wevorce.
She said that by standardising the “predictable pieces” of the process through technology, “the mediators are saving 60% of the time they would otherwise spend on the file and client management – this gives them additional time to dedicate to the family”. It also counters the risk that, using the traditional divorce lawyer, “depending on which office you walk into, you experience a vastly different process”.
Wevorce charges flat fees and the average cost of a divorce is $7,500 (£4,600) but can range from $3,000 to $15,000; this is less than half of the cost of a traditional divorce in the US, the company says.