Tuesday, 04 May 2021 10:58

Melbourne duo create divorce platform to cut expense, emotional stress

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Nicholas Koch: "it's not uncommon for Australians to end up paying around $200,000 in legal fees while going through the court process when filing for divorce." Nicholas Koch: "it's not uncommon for Australians to end up paying around $200,000 in legal fees while going through the court process when filing for divorce." Supplied

Two businessmen in Melbourne have created a DIY divorce negotiation and documentation platform which they say is aimed at cutting down on the financial and emotional toll that the end of a relationship brings.

Named Split Easy, the platform, developed by Nicholas Zoch and Justin Lawrence, ensures that a couple will not spend more than $1499 if they have no children and can agree on a percentage split of their assets.

If the couple has children and cannot agree on a percentage split, then they will be out of pocket by $2499 at the most.

Zoch, the chief executive of the company, said his own divorce had opened his eyes to the need for such a platform.

"My divorce wasn't nasty and didn't even end up in the Family Law Court, and I was able to represent myself," he said in a statement.

"But my ex was left $40,000 out-of-pocket for legal advice even though we negotiated everything ourselves. There's a well-known quote: 'Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand' and he [the person who made up the quote] was, pardon the pun, on the money.

"In fact, it's not uncommon for Australians to end up paying around $200,000 in legal fees while going through the court process when filing for divorce."

Split Easy can be used by either married or de facto couples, and involves a step-by-step process to determine a reasonable division of assets. The software then generates the legal documentation required to separate the asset pool.

If couples disagree on the split, the platform uses in-built predictive technology to help optimise the outcome for each.

The statement cited Australian Bureau of Statistics figures as showing 49,116 divorces were granted in 2019, a year when the number of marriages was 113,815.

The COVID-19 lockdown has also put a strain on relationships, with a spike in people seeking information about divorce and/or separation.

Zoch said the first stage of the process was free and allowed a couple to see how simple and stress-free it would be to navigate.

"We know that the legal process can be protracted, confusing and can make people fearful. But Split Easy's online platform simplifies the process and enables separating couples to get on with their own independent lives quicker, at significantly less cost," he added.

Zoch claimed Split Easy would put control back in the individual's hands – allowing communication with their ex at their own pace, in their own time, without worrying about escalating lawyers' fees.

"The timeframe for reaching settlement when using Split Easy is usually weeks, whereas similar negotiations commonly take 18 months with family lawyers, " he claimed. "If couples can't reach agreement, then we also offer an external mediation service."

But if things do not work out even after mediation, the company will provide a full transcript of the situation to the parties so they can approach an external lawyer to pursue the matter.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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