We caught up with Pip Wilson, co-founder of digital divorce service amicable, to talk all things from streamlining legal process, to creating a digital app that allows couples to work through the logistics of divorce in an easy way…
Tell us about amicable
amicable is a digital divorce service that provides a lawyer-free way to divorce and separate. The business exists to support couples who want to avoid the stereotypical my lawyer Vs your lawyer approach. amicable helps couples who want to move on with their lives without a legal battle, this is especially important if they have children together.
Our services harness a unique combination of beautifully designed, user-centric, legal jargon-free technology that simplifies the process, with a team of trained divorce coaches who support couples throughout – this includes support to agree financial and childcare arrangements as well as managing the legal documents involved.
The platform is fully digital: automation and AI handle the legal and administrative elements of the divorce and separation, leaving our coaches to help couples navigate the emotional, logistical, and legal journey via secure online meeting rooms, phone and email. Our coaching methodology helps couples to focus on the future by creating realistic, sustainable goals.
Financial uncertainty is one of the biggest stressors for separating couples. On average, it costs £8,000 per person to get a lawyer to sort out the divorce and finances – amicable’s most expensive services cost just under £3000, or £5550 if you have over £2m in assets or more than one property.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I co-founded the business in 2015 with Kate Daly, a friend from NCT classes. Kate had her own negative experience with divorce, and three years earlier left her job as a corporate counsellor to become a divorce coach working with lawyers. Most people know someone who has been affected by divorce or have been divorced themselves. We knew there must be a better way to separate that put families first, avoided acrimony, huge legal fees and damage to mental health and future relationships. We were brainstorming one day and realised we could combine Kate’s experience and expertise in psychology with my background in technology and could indeed create a better way to divorce and separate that was kinder, affordable, and accessible.
amicable’s journey began in 2015 when we launched a free divorce app. Its purpose was to help couples to work through what needed to be sorted, in a digestible, easy to use way. The feedback from our users was overwhelming; the design and purpose of the app was invaluable, but they also wanted and needed the all-important human-touch. This feedback shaped how we developed the business and led us to pivot our business model from tech-prominent products and services into a balance of tech and human support.
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How has the need for amicable evolved during the pandemic?
During the first two weeks of lockdown we saw an initial drop in leads, visits and new customers as people coped with the shock of lockdown. However, enquiry levels have since risen and are now exceeding projections – we saw a 63% month-on-month increase from May to June of this year, and a 200% increase year-on-year from 2019 to 2020. It’s important to state that this increase isn’t just because of lockdown as we are growing at a fast rate as our brand and approach has become more established.
The pandemic hasn’t caused people to divorce, but the intensity of lockdown has meant some couples who were already struggling in their relationship have buckled under the pressure of being in such close proximity, without the distractions of normal life.
Amicable has always been a digital-first business, so we didn’t face the same challenges as many companies transitioning to home working. We continue to provide the same online services in the same way.
What can we hope to see from amicable in the future?
In June, amicable received further investment from new and existing Angel Investors. These funds will be used to grow the team and develop our suite of technology so we can help more couples. We will continue to change the narrative from ‘disastrous divorce’ to a message that is more positive, pragmatic, and hopeful.
Divorce is a very difficult and stressful time for many people but should be seen as sad rather than bad. It’s not easy, but it is, as our thousands of customers have proven, possible to remain amicable.