In early 2007, a young man called Ian Rispin was in the midst of a difficult divorce; it became apparent to Ian that there was a tremendous opportunity to improve the availability of information, advice and services to people facing divorce. Launched in March 2007, Wikivorce started life as a rather basic site, with a few main features, such as the forum, blogging area, divorce guide and the then unique Divorce Calculator.
Wikivorce has grown significantly in 8 short years. In the early days it wasn''t unusual to find only a few members online at peak times, or to be able to read a whole days’ worth of posts in a short space of time. The sense of community is something that was very apparent even back then – probably as we were such a small community, and knew each other’s back-story almost as well as our own. Ian (Wikivorce founder and MD) tells a wonderful story of how he, back in those very early days, would spend all night populating the fledgling forum with questions using different usernames, and then he himself would reply to them using his own username (Wikivorce Team).
As the word spread, Wikivorce grew bigger and bigger in terms of membership, and the site underwent some very radical changes in terms of inter-facing and layout. At the bottom of this blog, I''ve added a link so you can see how much the site has changed in terms of look and lay-out. A new library was added, (please do use the library, it’s full of lots and lots of useful information), Wikizine (our online magazine, now edited by the lovely White Rose)was launched, the first official Wikivorce social event was held (dubbed Wikistock) and our forums and blogs saw a massive increase in daily use. We launched our fixed-price services, and just over 4 years ago, our very busy helpline was born. We have partnerships with significant organisations and work closely with them. We gained press coverage, members views were sought on a number of differing divorce-related issues, and opening up a newspaper or magazine and seeing the word “Wikivorce” is something to be proud of.
Some Wiki facts and figures:
* - We now have just over 129,000 registered members
* - Wikivorce has over 250,000 pages of information on divorce fully indexed by Google - compared to 20 or 30 pages for the average solicitor website
* - Our website is the most visited divorce site in the UK with over 3000 visitors a day. One new person discovers our website every minute.
* - Wikivorce is a leading example of social networking with a purpose - we don''t just connect people - we empower people to pick themselves up, define their goals and rebuild new lives.
* - Between Dukey, Fiona, LittleMrMike and .Charles (our top four posters), they have clocked up a staggering 39,466 posts - most of which are replies to members'' questions
* - Our name was inspired by an admiration for Wikipedia and their strategy of empowering individual volunteers to work together to create the world''s leading free encyclopedia.
What makes Wikivorce unique is that we have an all-inclusive membership – not just those facing divorce, but professionals and long-term contributors (whose input is hugely valued), family members affected by someone else’s divorce, and adult children of divorce, to name just a few. This provides balance and a wide range of personal experiences and ultimately better advice and support for our members. But this isn''t possible without the input of members, like you. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true – Wikivorce wouldn''t be what it is without the generosity of its members. I am immensely proud to be a member of this community, and try to give a back a little of the support and help I received when I joined all those years ago.
So what do the forthcoming years hold for Wikivorce? It’s my view that we will always be a work in progress, that there will always be a new dimension we can add to Wikivorce so that our members have the best possible access to information, advice and support to enable them to make informed decisions, are able to gain the confidence and knowledge required to represent themselves, and of course, to remove that social isolation that divorce and family break-up brings. In short - to infinity and beyond. The best is yet to come
Now that I am on that intrepid path that so many have walked before me, I am finding the information on this site very useful, particularly as I am in the very early stages of the court process. Ex has filed his acknowledgment and instructed a solicitor - yes. God he''s good isn''t he LOL
The emotional support I had from members in the very early stages, and continue to have has been very much appreciated, even if it was hard advice to swallow.
I hope once I am through this process I can help others along the way.
Happy birthday, Wikivorce! I discovered it in the first year (it''s eight years and a month since I separated from my ex) and I''ve watched it go from strength to strength - and Fiona, Marshy, LMM and Ruby have been around for most of that time, too (both Fiona and LMM joined before I did). A truly wonderful site.
I personally felt that the event which has made wikivorce more necessary than ever is the virtual withdrawal of legal aid.
This means that your average litigant has little option but to present his or her own case.
The result, too often, is that self reppers are chucked in at the deep end not knowing what to do or where to go.
I have an occasions written some articles which are designed to give some general and non-specific guidance on the law. There perhaps one that needs to be written which I haven''t written yet and that is, some guidelines on how to present your own case in Court. Perhaps that is an article that needs to be written.
I guess my best moment on wiki was when I had advised a '' client '' on section 33(5) of the Family Law Act 1996, which gives the Court the power to extend home rights even after divorce. The judge in this case was unaware of it and said the client, who was divorced, had, to leave the FMH. The lady in question drew his attention to section 33 (5), the judge looked it up and made the order !