Since mobile apps have revolutionized the dating game, it's no surprise that apps to help you split up would follow.
It's never been easier to call it quits thanks to a slew of simple online offerings that can be accessed from any mobile phone aiming to help couples navigate the divorce process and avoid hefty legal fees along the way.
One start-up, Wevorce, offers a step-by-step "DIY" guide with mediators accessible by videoconferencing starting at $749. Through Separate.us, users can complete, file and serve divorce papers entirely online. That service costs somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000, the company estimated.
Avvo, an established online legal marketplace, also recently launched a complete, uncontested divorce package, which includes a 30-minute phone call, for $995. And other online sites advertise uncontested divorces for even less.
"For better or for worse, technology has made it easier for people to split," said Avvo's general counsel and consumer advocate, Josh King.
Avvo helps users connect with a local lawyer of the customer's choice to complete the paperwork for the dissolution of a marriage. If more help is needed, the lawyer can provide additional counsel for an extra fee. But these packages are not for everyone, King said.
"The critical thing is that you don't have a lot of disagreements or complicated externalities," King said. "These products are designed to cover a wide range of people that have a fairly routine legal problem."
And as these tools that aim to achieve a more efficient — and affordable — divorce gain steam, experts warn that divorces are rarely that simple.
"If they have no assets and no children, you can do one of those divorces, no harm, no foul," said John Slowiaczek, president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. But far more often, couples have other issues including alimony, child support, retirement accounts, real estate, student loans, investments, taxes, credit cards and so on, he said.
"It's never that simple," Slowiaczek said. "Couples argue over the Christmas decorations; it's always about getting in the last dig and that's why the Pro Se divorces or divorce apps don't make sense."
In addition, the laws in different states, and even counties within a state, vary. Although all states now have "no fault" divorce proceedings, some jurisdictions still take into account the grounds for divorce when dividing assets, said Justin Reckers, a certified financial planner, divorce financial analyst and CEO of WellSpring Divorce Advisors. And there are often nuances to marital assets as well, like their future value or opportunity cost.
"Worst case scenario they try to do it themselves and screw it up," Reckers said. "In most jurisdictions, a division of assets and debt is final and you cannot change it unless both parties agree."
In addition, couples who skip legal representation can be a source of frustration for judges when it comes time to sign off on a settlement agreement, Slowiaczek said, particularly if they haven't completed or filed their paperwork correctly in advance of their court date. "The one thing divorce judges will tell you is that they are very frustrated when people come to their court without an attorney."
For those who want to better manage the mounting costs, Slowiaczek suggests consulting with an attorney first. "You can hire a lawyer to just look at the paperwork to find out if you are on the right track. Many times you can just do that."
A simple divorce, with attorneys, can cost as little as $2,500 in most parts of the country, he said. Of course, depending on whether there are complicated financial or child care issues, it can get significantly more expensive.
But you have to put it in perspective, he said. "When you look at divorce it's the rest of your life."
"It's like a wedding," Slowiaczek said, "and people don't think twice about spending $6,000 to $8,000 for flowers or $10,000 for a honeymoon."
This story has been updated to add more information about Avvo's legal services.