Wikivorce, the world's largest divorce support community, is launching DivorceSupermarket.com, the UK's first divorce supermarket on Monday 4th January 2010.
For the first time divorcing couples will be able to compare on one website a range of options from both the cheap online providers, as well as more traditional family law firms. Prices range from a DIY divorce at £69, up to a full solicitor managed divorce for £249.
The launch of DivorceSupermarket is in response to some key changes in consumer behaviour and in preparation for upcoming changes in the law on the sale of legal services.
Traditionally people have chosen a lawyer by simply walking down the high street and into a local solicitor's office, but the emergence of comparison websites such as gocompare.com and confused.com have educated consumers into using the internet to find a better deal.
A recent survey of Wikivorce members found that 2 out of every 5 divorcing couples were dissatisfied with the value for money provided by family lawyers.
The Legal Services Act 2007 often dubbed "Tesco Law" has paved the way for online retailers to sell an ever expanding range of legal services.
A recent Which survey estimates that "75% of consumers would buy legal services from banks/ supermarkets" and it has been estimated that impact of Tesco Law will lead to more than 30% of law firms going out of business.
Ian Rispin, the founder and Managing Director of Wikivorce believes that "those law firms that can adapt and innovate have a promising future, but they need to develop new capabilities in areas such as: online marketing, technology, product management and partnership development".
In answer to criticism that a DivorceSupermarket will encourage people to give up on their failing marriages rather than seek to resolve things, Ian Rispin was quoted as saying "That is like blaming the NHS for encouraging people to have more car accidents - because drivers know that if they do crash, then they have access to good quality medical treatment. Wikivorce is there to pick up the pieces after divorce has become inevitable. We have helped tens of thousands of people who would otherwise have had no obvious source of affordable support. DivorceSupermarket is an extension of that support and offers people choice and good value - I see that as a very good thing."