Federal government thinks AI for separating couples is a good idea

The service aims to help couples work out how their assets should be divided and how to record those agreements.

The Australian government has introduced a new online service to help separating couples work out parenting arrangements, how to divide assets, and how agreements are recorded. 

Developed by the National Legal Aid (NLA), with AU$3 million in funding from the Australian government, the tool, known as Amica, uses so-called artificial intelligence technology to suggest how couples could split their assets by taking into account their circumstances, the kinds of agreements reached by couples in similar situations, and how courts have handled similar disputes.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said Amica would enable users to negotiate and communicate online with their former partner at their own pace.

"Amica will be a valuable tool to help many couples resolve their disputes between themselves and avoid court proceedings," he said.

See also: 85% of organizations are using AI in deployed applications (TechRepublic)

The federal government said Amica is suitable for couples whose relationship is "relatively amicable", and could also be used by separating parents to develop a parenting plan for their children.

Amica project chief Gabrielle Canny said the service is expected to help reduce legal bills for separating couples and reduce pressure on family law courts.

"We want to help people work through their problems without spending tens-of-thousands of dollars on lengthy legal battles," she said.

"Even though Amica uses artificial intelligence and other technology, every element has been guided by feedback from everyday people who have gone through family law issues."

Amica's dispute resolution feature will be free to use until the end of the year. A nominal fee between AU$165 to AU$440 per couple will then be applied from 1 January 2021.

The fee will be used for ongoing maintenance and development of the service, the federal government said.

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