You don’t have to hire a lawyer to file for divorce. You can download a divorce app (iSplit for iPhones is $10) to help make the split less acrimonious. The app will keep a record of who gets what, who owes how much when, and who sees the kids on which days. In the UK, the government invested £14m (US$22m) to get a similar digital delineator to help incompatibles all over the country. It’s heavy on advice and emotional support. British Ministers say it will ultimately save money because it encourages separating parents to resolve disputes and financial deals rather than rely on the beleaguered Child Support Agency.
Marriage rates have halved in the past 40 years in the UK, and the number of single-parent households has increased by an average of 26,000 a year since the early 1980s. High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge (a descendant of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), who’s been married since 1973 and has three children, finds these statistics atrocious. He has set up a pro-marriage charity, “Marriage Foundation,” to change the public attitude regarding the sacred vow. One of his supporters is Solicitor (and Baroness) Fiona Shackleton, whose divorce clients have included the Prince of Wales and Sir Paul McCartney. At the latter’s final settlement hearing, Paul’s ex Heather Mills (who wanted $100m, but was awarded a paltry $50m!) poured a jug of water over Shackleton’s head. Chances are, an app would not have made a difference.