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Debate on Wikivorce selling legal services

  • rasher
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03 Jun 08 #24588 by rasher
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This IS a fantastic site and a fantastic idea but I too feel that whilst the intentions are more than certainly honourable, there is a loss when the balance of the level playing field of independence is altered. But change is part of life and hopefully it wont be a problem.
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  • Young again
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03 Jun 08 #24590 by Young again
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Having re-read Maggie's and Fiona's posts I think I understand their point of view, however I do not share it.

The way I see it Wikivorce is a great help because of the genuine goodwill of the registered members, irrespective of the number of solicitors advertising on it or tied into it.

Should Wikivorce wish to interfere with members' wishing to express honest opinions then board will become worthless. There is admirable self-regulation on the board between the members and any gripes they may have about solicitors used (long may this continue).

Although it isn't the members who set up Wikivorce, it is they who have really created it and it will be a success or failure through them.

There is no perfect solution that will satisfy all the members, we each have our own agenda and individual reasons for being on this site and I find the aims as stated by Wikivorce, laudable and worthy of support.

Having dealt with a very nasty divorce at high financial and emotional cost I have no problem with giving an occasional few minutes of my time to possibly helping others avoid some of my bad experiences.

Many members such as I are neither greatly experienced nor knowledgeable in Family Law and a pukka legal service backed by the Wikivorce Team and endorsed by the membership would be of great help to anyone at any stage of the divorce process.

At this stage, the number of employees such a legal practice has is irrelevant as long as it takes on no more cases than it can handle.

Arce

YA
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  • topaz
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03 Jun 08 #24592 by topaz
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Dawn1
I disagree with your comment re getting a free half hour appointment, "you would be lucky to get that anywhere".

Go to any CAB office in the country and they will provide you with a list (no charge) of solicitors in the area who provide a half or one hour first interview/consultation for free. no charge.
This applies to all subjects including divorce.

Personally I feel we have been sold out.
Wikivorce is only succesful because of it's members input.Without them there would be no Wikivorce.
If the site didn't have such a high member list and a succesful self support system would the legal firm concerned have been interested.I doubt it.
We are their potential customers and they are getting a fantastic amount of advertisement every time someone logs on.
I feel it is a sad fact that we are being taken in and being guided towards services on offer at a time when we are at our most vulnerable.
I personally would have thought that members should have been given an option re paying for membership first if monetary gain was a necessity before we were plummeted into this "relationship" with a commercial business.

I can see the argument would then be that we members do not own WIKIVORCE but my response to that would be ..we are wikivorce, without us this site is nothing but an empty web page.
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  • wikivorce team
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03 Jun 08 #24596 by wikivorce team
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Fiona,

You are a highly valued and incredibly prolific contributor to the Wikivorce forum so I take on board your concerns.

I feel you deserve a reponse to each one:

Many of us signed up for Wikivorce because it wasn't commercial and a place that we could share knowledge, experience and resources.I for one am not willing to contribute further knowledge or information about resources which I've acquired over the years to the forum for others to make financial gain

If you decide not to contribute anymore it will be a crying shame and great loss to the folks on here who could really benefit from your experience - but clearly that is your choice. From our side - Wikivorce promise to continue to provide a platform where anyone going through divorce can seek much needed free help, information and emotional support. The other forum you refer to Fiona actually packages up the old forum postings (the ones you write) and sells them for £10 pounds a time! And their legal line is £1.50 a minute. I am suprised that you feel that is less commercial. The Wikivorce forum will always be free. We think it is absurd to sell access to old posts.

I believe there is no quick fix and the only way to modernise family law is to lobby with those sols and judges who want to see change

Wikivorce would love to see a modernised family law and will provide a platform for those who wish to organise a push for change in this area.

On the 'quick fix' we actually believe that there is a LOT that we can do quickly to improve things. Not by changing the law - but by raising the bar regarding the service levels and price competitiveness of divorce services.

There are already online companies that offer various online services promising exactly the same as Wikivorce Divorce Services and in my experience they are actually even worse than conventional services. To charge £30/50 pounds to provide forms and guidance which are freely available is a joke.

Wikivorce will be very different from the existing online divorce providers.

1) Wikivorce will provide a far better DIY service at little or no cost.

2) Wikivorce will provide specially designed services for "Self Reppers". The other online services do nothing at all for "Self Reppers", in fact no-one does.

3) Wikivorce will provide a range of fixed price services suitable for people with contested ancillary relief cases. The online companies don't do this.

I feel many Wikivorce members are vulnerable and could be blindly walking into something not in their interest :dry:


We would like to think that Wikivorce provides a light for people in the form of free access to a huge amount of legal information.

We are far more concerned for those people who haven't discovered Wikivorce.

We want Wikivorce to be a place people can go to get an objective view on what, if any, divorce services they need in their circumstances. This is because we can recommend DIY or Self Rep or Fixed Price or Full Service - it really makes no difference to us.

We are very happy if a person comes along and uses Wikivorce for many months everyday and never pays a penny. Just as long as they get through the tunnel.


In summary...

I think we want the same thing in the end Fiona. We just have a different way of getting there.

Where I am struggling with your plan Fiona (i.e. lobby parliament) is that it doesn't offer anything to people just about to start their divorce.

We take the view that:

1) It will take 20 years to address the core issues in family law in England and Wales. People need help now.

2) Solicitors will not make the step change that is required in their service levels and efficiency unless it is forced on them through competition.

Wikivorce believe that we can vastly improve the current services offered. We owe it to everyone going through divorce to drive change for the better, and do it now.
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  • wikivorce team
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03 Jun 08 #24599 by wikivorce team
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Topaz,

You make some good points and I wanted to respond:

I feel it is a sad fact that we are being taken in and being guided towards services on offer at a time when we are at our most vulnerable.

Fiona mentioned a similar concern. What I don't understand is this.....the alternative to wiki is that the 'vulerable' person is left fend for themselves and to visit a solicitor's office alone for their first interview . The sol can then guide them towards the only services that they can offer - i.e. expensive ones.

On Wikivorce that same person can:
- read a free divorce guide
- search a forum with thousands of uselful answers
- get free advice in chatroom from other members
- learn about all of the available options
- learn about how much divorce costs if you fight it out in court
- learn about mediation
- learn about collaborative divorce
- understand the divorce process
- get free court forms
- find links to all the other tops divorce sites

Why do you think the Wiki visitor is more vulnerable than the one heading straight for a solicitors office? :S

As I see it the Wikivorce visitors and members are far more knowledgable and empowered than those that don't find the site. They are much more informed about their options and able to make informed decisions about legals services.

I personally would have thought that members should have been given an option re paying for membership first if monetary gain was a necessity before we were plummeted into this "relationship" with a commercial business.

Hmmmm - not sure that one is a vote winner Topaz. :dry:
that would exclude those on very low incomes who need the site the most.

I can see the argument would then be that we members do not own WIKIVORCE but my response to that would be ..we are wikivorce, without us this site is nothing but an empty web page.

:laugh:Yes you are!
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  • Specialdad
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04 Jun 08 #24643 by Specialdad
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Wikivorce is one of the best sites I have ever come across.

As long as it remains free at the point of use it will always be a valuable site to those requiring a bit of information and moral support.

I hope you remain Fiona as you have helped countless people with your rational and interesting information.

I came on the site a long time ago to get some information and found a very friendly and helpful bunch of people.

I for one will remain a loyal supporter of wikivorce while it remains free to all at the point of use. A bit like the NHS it has its faults but is loved by all.

Special thanks to Ian for his idea and dedication to the cause.

Now I hope you will excuse me while I go and unfortunately send another cheque to my ex.

SD :)
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  • kidsinbulgaria
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04 Jun 08 #24648 by kidsinbulgaria
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Gonna put my two penneth in.

Without wikivorce going to registered charity status, streams of revenue are required. I would be vehemently against membership fees. Advertising and tie-in services are more realisic ways of generating income.

The fact that the wikivorce owners chose the divorce field rather than flogging mobile phones for a quick profit shows that they have an underlying moral interest in this field.

They do appear to have negotiated for a service with honourable intentions and have not simply sold out to the highest retainer / commission on offer selling us out in the process.

I personally see this as an optional good valued extra which will benefit members and encourage more to join.

This should not detract from the excellent work being done by us the cornerstones/foundations of the community. Without which this site would have tumbleweed blowing across it.

Respect due to all opinions. Our opinions may vary but no-one can say any of them are wrong. This is why the wikivorce community works so well as we all have differing opinions and tied in with some substantial knowledge we are a force to be reckoned with.
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