OCAP: Online Court Assistance Program

One of the greatest obstacles faced by couples seeking a divorce is the financial burden of obtaining the divorce.  Thus, the court created an online program that allows couples to generate their own divorce online, without retaining actual legal assistance.

While the court has done an excellent job putting this program together online, the vast majority of attorneys will strongly discourage couples from actually obtaining their divorce through this program. Even the Utah State Court online divorce site introduces you to the Online Court Assistance Program by suggesting ways for you to seek legal advice instead.  What’s more, they suggest you avoid litigation altogether through alternative dispute resolution, or mediation.

Using OCAP may be a money saver up front, but in the long run, couples will often still end up spending money on hiring attorneys to resolve post-divorce conflicts that often surface once their divorce has been finalized.  This is due to the fact that the online system creates a cookie cutter mold for all divorces to be squeezed into.  However, no two divorces are exactly alike because no two relationships are exactly alike.  Thus, trying to fit every divorce scenario into the exact same mold proves impossible and thus leads to future litigation between parties.

The online program deals with the main issues in divorce (money, property, kids, etc.) and divides them up accordingly, with only a little input from the actual parties.  With each marriage and situation being unique, many couples face the challenge of needing their final divorce decree to be more specific to their actual needs.  Furthermore, the online program often leaves much to be desired in the explanations it gives regarding how the parties are to conduct themselves in the future.  The ambiguity in the online program often leads to different interpretations by the parties.  This in turn leads to hefty legal fees and unwanted court appearances to try to resolve the ambiguous nature of their divorce documents.

While the online program offers the benefit of being less expensive up front, it lacks the quality of work that can be done by a professional and thus will most likely end up costing the divorced couple more in the end, both financially and emotionally.  Therefore, it is better that a couple get proper assistance with their divorce from the onset.  And if money is a major factor, which it often is, using an alternative method to get divorced, such as mediation through Peaceful Dissolution, is the best way to go, as opposed to getting a divorce online or hiring over-priced attorneys to litigate it out in the court room.