That's right, there are smartphone apps -- hundreds, actually -- to guide couples through the sticky process of untangling a union.
"We're in an app era," said
But just as some doctors bemoan patients turning to
"The Grass Is Greener," launched by a local family law attorney, is a quiz-like app that makes users think about common divorce questions. There's another called "Sesame Street: Divorce," with cameos by Grover and Abby Cadabby, which helps parents talk to kids about the dreaded topic. Other apps offer calculators for splitting assets or calendars for tackling parenting between households.
"Apps can only do so much in terms of offering information," said
Ready for divorce?
Sometimes even family law attorneys -- who make their living guiding others through divorce -- want fighting couples to slow down.
But there are no concrete answers at the end.
"We don't give results. It's not like a
Instead, it ends with a list of referrals. For serious issues there's contact information for Green and her collaborators -- a financial adviser, a career counselor and a psychologist who all met through the
"It's providing an opportunity to reflect and say, 'Who are the experts in this space who I might reach out to?'?" said app collaborator
On a lighter note, if it's an unfinished remodeling job that's wreaking havoc on relations, the app also links to a local handyman service. Need a quick pick-me-up? Try the recommended manicurist.
Seek credible sources
Despite the proliferation of divorce apps, it's hard to say how often people actually use them. Few apps have enough reviews to merit credible ratings from users. And sharing opinions on divorce apps, it seems, isn't as much fun as proclaiming the five-star greatness of "Angry Birds."
As with health-related apps -- some helpful, many little more than digital snake oil -- seeking divorce information by app requires caution.
"We have to ask critical questions about the source of information," Bruess said. "In the pre-app world we might seek out a book written by experts and it was really clear who wrote that book because you could read about the credentials of that person. How many people really dig for the author of an app?"
She pointed to "Sesame Street: Divorce" as a exemplary resource -- crafted by experts working with a nonprofit, no sales pitch. Kids can illustrate their feelings by changing the expression on a Muppet. Scripts and videos offer tips for parents fielding common kid questions.
Still, experts caution that self-reflection might require more help than an app provides.
"When people are considering divorce, they are often in a very emotional state," Doherty said.
But apps that help with the logistics of ending a marriage can also be helpful, experts say, because they lessen stress. For instance, a shared calendar app for children's schedules at two different households can spare families confusion.
"Let the predictable pieces be handled by technology," Crosby said. "That's where the future is heading. We look to our phones to answer these things for us."
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