Legal Technology

App Helps Warring Ex-Spouses Work Out Custody Differences; Even Email and Texting Lessen Conflict

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Warring former spouses are getting some help from technology that helps avoid the emotion of face-to-face communication.

The New York Times has a story on the trend. “Email and texting alone have practically revolutionized postdivorce family relationships,” the story says. Tears and raised voices are avoided when exes use technology to communicate about custody arrangements.

The story quotes Atlanta lawyer Randy Kessler, immediate-past chair of the ABA’s Family Law Section. “People don’t want to talk to their exes because just the sound of their voice is irritating,” he says. “But they can email. They can share an online calendar. They can use any number of resources on the Internet. There are even divorce apps.”

In one case, a judge ordered a Florida couple sharing custody of their children to use an online tool called Our Family Wizard, the story says. Now emails between the parents can be time-dated and tracked, expenses can be noted in a shared log, and the exes can receive automated notices about their obligations.

Other types of technology are also becoming a requirement in some divorce cases, according to the story. Joint custody arrangements may require weekly Skype sessions, for example. Parents are often required to buy a cellphone for their children, allowing call times to be recorded to ensure the kids are getting enough phone time with the away parent.

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