Share Article: A Digital Makeover for Divorce Law?

Posted by Funlola Oluwole, Trainee Solicitor

The pursuit of technological advancements to improve our quality of lives is rife, and the law on divorce and matrimonial finance in England and Wales is not immune to potential reform through the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

New Ideas:
Several ideas have emerged concerning AI’s involvement in divorce and matrimonial finance law. One proposed avenue is implementing a “chatbot” function on HMCTS, much like ChatGPT, which would allow users to quickly find answers to their divorce and matrimonial finances queries. Reducing correspondence backlog in courts is a potential advantage of having this measure, as litigants could attain custom-made answers to their questions, made possible by the software pulling information from existing, reputable, resources in real time.

Creating algorithms to objectively predict asset distribution before issuing proceedings in matrimonial finance cases has also been suggested. These algorithms could theoretically process case specifics entered by users whilst also drawing information from the law and precedent cases to arrive at the predictions. This preventive approach might ease the burden on the legal system by permitting divorcing couples to address the relevant issues pre-emptively, perhaps through counselling or mediation.

Room for Growth?
Many AI databases are not entirely up to date and have limited knowledge of the law after 2021, which for obvious reasons could be problematic in a “chatbot” tool on HMCTS, by potentially giving users inaccurate information. Likewise, the associated costs of maintaining an up-to-date AI search tool, for an already overstretched legal system, would take a considerable amount of time to implement. Worst still, requiring the user to make payment to access this “chatbot” runs the risk of favouring those with the financial means to do so, exacerbating inequality in the legal system.

AI’s lack of the nuanced understanding of human emotions and necessities may impact its capacity to make asset distribution predictions. The potential to overlook the delicate yet crucial aspects of handling divorce and matrimonial finance matters exposes the live issues that AI is yet to overcome. Concerns about data breaches and confidentiality are also raised when considering the potential for AI-powered tools to handle sensitive information.

What about now:
As we approach this unexplored territory, maintaining a balance between optimising AI’s potential while protecting the human-centric values of divorce and matrimonial finance law will be paramount for a fair and just legal system.

However, AI is currently in its infancy and the journey toward the full integration of AI and divorce and matrimonial finance law has a distance to go.

In the meantime, if you are seeking assistance with divorce and matrimonial finances, contact our specialist Family Matrimonial Finance Team on 020 7935 3522.

Whatever your personal circumstances the above is only a guide and we would advise you to contact us to obtain definitive advice as you will appreciate that each person’s circumstances are unique to them.




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