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'Conscious uncoupling' made easier online

Monday - 5/5/2014, 5:18am  ET

ring divorce (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
A new online program attempts to make divorce less painful. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON -- The pain is obvious in Mark Michaud's eyes.

Recounting falling in love with Michelle Crosby, Michaud's eyes well with tears as he describes the risk involved in asking someone to get married.

"You're at your most vulnerable. You're asking someone to share their life with you. You're trusting someone that they're not going to stomp on it, cut it up," says Michaud.

Divorce happens.

Ten years after getting married Michaud and Crosby divorced.

"The expectation was that we were done. We were just going to walk our separate ways, and never see each other again," says Michaud.

The kicker? They now jointly run a San Francisco startup, Wevorce, trying to reduce the financial and emotional stress of what has recently been described as "conscious uncoupling."

"When we tend to celebrate a coupling, we are demonizing the uncoupling," says Crosby, in a video report on Fast Company.

Crosby says the average cost of divorce in the U.S. is $27,000. Using their online service, she says the typical fee is approximately $10,000

Making divorce more humane

"We're very careful about saying we are not pro-divorce, we're pro-family, regardless of the format," Crosby tells The Wall Street Journal.

Couples contemplating working together to divorce use Wevorce software, and undergo mediation with a single lawyer.

The company is seeking marriage professionals to expand mediation services from its West Coast base.

The program includes dealing not only with legal matters, including property and debt division and spousal support, but also the often more difficult emotional issues.

Typically, the process takes 10 weeks to complete, but "can vary greatly depending on the couple's readiness to move forward, items that need to be addressed, and local laws," according to the Wevorce website.

Crosby says divorce is the second most-stressful event in a person's life, and Wevorce's main focus is making sure children are taken care of.

Asked what happens to couples that can't reach an amicable solution?

"There is an existing system for those families that just need to fight it out," says Crosby. "It's called the court system."

See how Crosby and Michaud met, fell in love, married, divorced, and now try to make divorce less painful for others:

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