First real contact with Rechtwijzer 2.0

Over the past couple of months, a number of early adopters have started to organise their divorce plan on the renewed Rechtwijzer. This yields extremely useful feedback to improve this minimum viable product.

‘Rechtwijzer Uit Elkaar’ – as the Dutch version of the online platform is called – allows citizens to draft their divorce plan while staying in control of the process, outcome and costs.

Throughout the development, we have tested Rechtwijzer within a series of focus groups. The drawback to these focus groups, however, was that those who were testing the platform were not actually going through a divorce. That is why it was an exciting moment when, in November of last year, Rechtwijzer quietly went live. Here are the statistics so far:

  • 24 persons have completed the intake and are waiting for their partner to do the same
  • 23 couples are currently working on their divorce plan
  • 11 couples have sent their divorce plan to an expert for review
  • 4 couples have passed the review and have finalised their divorce

We have spoken to a number of these early testers to gather feedback. Their experiences will serve as primary input for the improvement process of the Rechtwijzer platform. So far, we have heard that they highly appreciate the freedom to work on their divorce plan whenever and wherever they choose. Moreover, the structure of the platform helps them go through all the necessary arrangements to end up with a sustainable divorce plan. The users have also made suggestions for further improvements: providing more information on issues like child alimony, having access to more detailed model agreements and an automated notification system to notify users when experts have commented on their plan, to name a few.

The experts – the lawyers who review the divorce plan or act as a mediator or arbitrator when necessary – are true pioneers in the legal field. Sometimes, they need to address issues that the platform itself has not fixed yet. For example, we discovered that not all people are optimally using the chat function of Rechtwijzer. The chat function is designed as an instrument for experts to track the dialogue that leads up to the final agreement; however, some users chose to communicate through other means (email, phone, in-person, etc.) before they write-up their solution. This sometimes leaves the experts with scarce material to use in their decision-making. Fortunately, this problem can be rectified and will be taken into account during the evaluation and upgrading phase.

We will continuously work with our partners, the Dutch Legal Aid Board and Modria, to release new and improved versions of the platform. That way, this minimum viable product – the version of the product that is ready to be presented but is by no means complete yet- will evolve over time, based on the experiences of the testers.

The next step for Rechtwijzer will be connecting an informational website to the platform, which will make the service easy to find when searching for it online. This is another exciting step in the journey towards bringing self-help to people for solving their justice problems of everyday life.