In addition to all the advantages, there are, as with any procedure, some opinions that emphasize the disadvantages of online dispute resolution. Thus, the possibility of misinterpretation of the parties’ allegations due to the distance may be possible, as well as frustration caused by the delayed reaction of the other party.
However, to draw a conclusion on the admissibility of online dispute resolution, these shortcomings must be compared with the advantages brought about by this novelty. With this in mind, from a positive standpoint, it should be considered that the court decisions must be based on facts and real circumstances, and exempt from the personal affinities of the decision-maker, who can be biased.
Although conceived on independent platforms, two decades since its inception, this type of procedure has also been adopted by the authorities of progressive states. This shows that the advantages of online dispute resolution still outweighed the disadvantages.
However, the Republic of Serbia has not yet introduced the possibility of online divorce, though the Law on Civil Procedure itself provides for the possibility of electronic communication between the parties and the court. Thus, resisting technology in family matters remains puzzling.
The only currently available solution, closest to the online resolution of family disputes, is a divorce agreement without the presence of spouses.
In that case, the spouses simply grant a special power of attorney, so their lawyers can conclude a divorce agreement. The spouses themselves do not have to personally approach the signing or the hearing, since the proxy can do all that for them.
A little reminder: this agreement means that the spouses must give their consent regarding the following matters:
- The division of joint property acquired in marriage
- Exercising parental rights over children that are minors
- The amount of alimony that a parent who does not provide parental care must pay
- Maintaining a close relationship between a child and a parent, who the child does not live with.
Therefore, the international element is not a problem in divorce, which we wrote about in more detail in an earlier blog called “Divorcing a foreign spouse in Serbia“, while all about the methods of divorce in the Republic of Serbia can be read in the previous blog.
Therefore, for legal systems that are not yet sufficiently acquainted with digital procedures, such as the legal system of the Republic of Serbia, the procedure regarding the divorce agreement would definitely be the procedure in which this principle could be best tested.
All in all, we believe that the online dispute resolution in family matters will emerge as a necessity in the Republic of Serbia, when the judicial and alternative institutions for resolving disputes are adequately digitized.
The need for this solution is especially noticeable in the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which recently hit the world. Court proceedings have stopped, people are facing difficult situations, their rights have been postponed, and, thus, the harmful consequences are greater. So, it is clear that by adopting the possibility of online dispute resolution, not only does the law not have to stagnate, but it actually mustn’t.