WELCOME TO DIVORCE CONSUMERS AND ONLINE DIVORCE PROFESSIONALS
The Online Divorce Association of America (ODAA) is the independent professional association of online divorce providers. ODAA Membership is available to any website, operated by a lawyer or non-lawyer, that offers online divorce document preparation and/or review services to divorce consumers in the United States.
ODAA was founded in September 2016. Its purposes are:
- To persuade the online divorce profession to adopt and adhere to a Code of Ethics which ensures ethical and transparent business practices in an environment of a well-informed divorce consumer;
- To educate and warn divorce consumers about misleading or deceptive practices that exist within the online divorce profession by providing online divorce reviews; and
- To act as a centralized repository of valid and confirmed consumer complaints about fraud and deception in the online divorce profession.
MISSION STATEMENT OF ODAA
If you are a divorce consumer seeking a cost-effective reliable online divorce, you are already under some personal stress before you contact an online divorce service provider. It should be our professional duty to make your divorce situation better, not worse, as a result of your visits to our websites.
Our code of ethics and our duty of professionalism should be no less than those of lawyers, and indeed our membership is available to lawyers. The relationship of trust and the reliance in important personal matters placed upon us by the divorce consumer are the same.
So how can we online divorce professionals expect to survive and prosper, both individually and as a profession, when we know, or ought to know, that our industry is currently awash in fraud? How can we expect you, the divorce consumer, to trust us and rely on us for important legal services if we are either purposefully blind to the pervasive fraud within our industry or we are aware of the fraud but continue to take no action to prevent it?
Consumers who approach our industry for help face a whole range of deceptive and misleading practices. Those include deceptive advertising, pricing trickery, hidden fees, bogus self-owned testimonial systems, coercive testimonial systems, bogus self-owned online divorce review websites, purposefully misleading descriptions of services and numerous up-sold services about which the consumer knows nothing at the time of hiring. There is a “wild west” mentality in the online divorce profession. Anything that tricks the consumer into hiring the online divorce provider is considered clever business practice and perfectly acceptable.
At the founding of ODAA in September 2016, our industry is a race to the bottom of the ethics barrel. It is dangerous to the divorce consumer. Non-lawyer providers are unlicensed. They have no bonding. They have no code of ethics. They have no practice standards. They have no minimum educational standards or continuing educational requirements. They are completely unregulated. There is no barrier to the entry of new online divorce frauds from India, China and elsewhere, though our own American con-men are the most numerous. We have refused to police or regulate ourselves for over 15 years. We are almost universally distrusted by consumers – and rightly so. We are subject to general consumer fraud laws, of course, but few consumers going through the difficulties of divorce have the time or energy to file and pursue an official complaint with legal authorities. The frauds among us count on that.
The intended result of online divorce con-men is that the divorce consumer is tricked and deprived of his or her ability to make his or her own choice about whom to hire. As a result, the divorce consumer is defrauded and the business of every honest online divorce service is harmed by being denied the ability to compete fairly for that divorce consumer’s business. The frauds among us count on that.
In online divorce at present, the costs of fraud are low to the provider, and the costs of honesty are high to the provider. ODAA is an attempt to reverse those costs. We will do so by educating the divorce consuming public about the frauds that face it. We will provide continuing online divorce reviews. We will name and shame online divorce con-men with specific examples of their scams. The frauds among us DID NOT count on any of that.
WE PROMISE TO DO OUR PART IN CLEANING UP OUR PROFESSION, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TOO
Your hiring choices are the key to ODAA’s success. Please choose wisely. Look at ODAA’s online divorce reviews and other material. Educate yourself about the problems within our profession. Apply that knowledge to your research about the online divorce websites you look at. Please reward the honesty and courage of ODAA members by favoring websites that display the ODAA seal. However, please be sure to check our membership list before you hire anyone as the con-men are sure to steal our seal or come up with their own bogus seal.
Favor ODAA members in your hiring choice and you’ll have a far better online divorce experience. Future divorce consumers and honest online divorce providers will also thank you.
Thanks for visiting and for your interest. Good luck in your case.
Statement of Founding Director Peter J. O’Hanlon