New ‘amica’ online service to assist couples to separate amicably
A ground-breaking new digital service will empower separating couples to resolve their family law disputes online.
Suitable for couples whose relationship is relatively amicable, the new 'amica' tool enables users to negotiate and communicate online with their former partner at their own pace, in their own time and in their own space.
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 courts generally handle disputes of the same nature.
The tool can also assist parents to develop a parenting plan for their children.
Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said amica would support people to work out parenting arrangements, split their assets, and record their agreements in plain language.
"The Morrison Government is committed to improving the family law system to make the system faster, simpler, cheaper and much less stressful for separating couples and their children," the Attorney-General said.
"amica will be a valuable tool to help many couples resolve their disputes between themselves and avoid court proceedings."
It is expected that the tool will help reduce the legal bills of separating couples and reduce pressure on family law courts.
amica was developed by National Legal Aid (NLA) with $3 million in funding from the Australian Government. NLA represents Australia's legal aid commissions, the nation's largest providers of family law legal assistance.
amica project chief, Gabrielle Canny, said that the NLA had undertaken extensive work in developing the tool and was excited by this new service.
"We want to help people work through their problems without spending tens-of-thousands of dollars on lengthy legal battles," Ms Canny said.
"Even though amica uses artificial intelligence and other technology, every element has been guided by feedback from everyday people who have gone through family law issues."
Independent social research under taken by NLA indicated 78 per cent of people would use an online service of this type.
Anyone can use amica to access free information about family law issues at any time.
Until the end of the year amica's dispute resolution feature will be free to use. From 1 January 2021, a nominal fee (between $165 and $440 per couple) will be charged to fund ongoing maintenance and development of the service.
For more information visit www.amica.gov.au
*For media interviews with Ms Gabrielle Canny please contact Jeremy Boylen on 0421 611 856 (Ms Canny is the amica project chief, a Director of National Legal Aid, and the head of the Legal Services Commission of SA)