Amica is a new initiative supported by the Australian Government. It is designed to assist couples to resolve their parenting and/or financial issues following separation. It is a great initiative for couples who can “get along” as they come apart. For others, it is less helpful.
According to the website, Amica:
- provides separating couples with a user-friendly platform to work out and record parenting arrangements that work for their family.
- uses artificial intelligence to make suggestions about dividing money and property (considering legal principles) based on the information that is entered by the parties.
The website claims that Amica “should suit most separating couples”. These are some of the situations listed where Amica is not going to be suitable:
- There is a Family Violence Restraining Order in place between the parties.
- A limitation period will expire in the next 3 months.
- There is a genuine dispute about the validity of the relationship.
- One of the parties to a relationship or marriage is on a visa or seeking a visa which is dependent on their relationship with their partner.
- There are any existing court orders in place about parenting arrangements for any children of the relationship.
- There are ongoing cases or allegations in any court involving family law, child support, family violence or child welfare that involve either parent, or a child of the relationship.
- One of the parties wishes to relocate with a child of the relationship.
- Either party wishes to divide superannuation.
- There are any genuine disputes over what is included in the property pool.
- Any property of the relationship has been disposed of (such as sold or transferred) without consent of both parties.
- There are caveats or charges lodged over any property in the property pool.
- Assets in the property pool are held in a company or trust.
- One party is a director of a company that forms part of the property pool.
- Where either party owns or partly owns property or other assets overseas.
- The property pool includes property which is also owned by a third party.
- Either party currently has bankruptcy proceedings against them, or if either party was bankrupt during the relationship, or if either party is an undischarged bankrupt.
While Amica appears to be a great initiative, it is not the end of family lawyers by AI. Amica does not give legal advice. In our experience, it is very rare to encounter a matter which does not involve at least one of the complicating factors listed above, making Amica unsuitable for most separating couples.
Importantly, even if a separating couple can reach agreement using Amica, it is not legally binding. All information exchanged between parties is done so on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning the information disclosed via Amica cannot be used in Court proceedings.
Here at Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky, we encourage our clients to reach an amicable resolution to their family law issue, whether it be divorce, parenting arrangements or property division.
To book an initial consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers, please get in touch. Alternatively, to get started online now, visit the BBV Legal Online System where you can enter your relationship details and receive information that is free, instant, personalised and helpful.