Click to get hitched. Or unhitched. Whatever your marital status, online services abound to help you change it.
Dating, marriage and divorce are all just a click, questionnaire and check away because mating rituals—like other rites of passage—are being cyberized.
Folks used to say, “There are other fish in the sea.” That’s true. And now, there are other profiles online. Lots more.
Matchmaker.com says it’s been making matches since 1985, with over 8 million members to date. Like many other online dating services, one can search not only by geography or age, but by “special interest groups” like “Christian Connection,” “Catholic Singles” and “Jewish Singles.”
Another service, Match.com, tells visitors to “leave your dating worries behind as you enter the web’s largest community of discriminating eligible singles.”
There are so many online dating services that there are now Web sites about dating Web sites. For example, Dating-Services-Online.net helps online love seekers sort through all the dating services like 2ofaKind.com, FriendFinder.com and Mingles.com.
Of course, there are niche dating services like Interracial-Dating-Online.com, ChristianSoulMates.com and VeggieDate.org, making it more likely you’ll meet someone just like you—or not just like you, depending on your preference.
With so many online dating services, Web weddings seem only logical.
LiveWed.com offers couples the ability to “walk down the virtual wedding aisle and get hitched in cyberspace.” The service is not legally binding, but it’s unforgettable nevertheless. LiveWed.com even offers a “free keepsake certificate.”
But be careful when navigating LiveWed.com. Under “tie the knot” is “untie the knot,” where one can get a “virtual cyber-divorce” with a couple of clicks.
And check out Sarah-and-Andy.com. This couple in Muncie, Ind., has developed a Web site for their wedding, which will also be webcast. Visitors can learn about Sarah and Andy, their parents, and their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Also available are pictures of the wedding dress and engagement ring.
Visitors can sign and view an online guestbook, check the wedding gift registry and even RSVP online. And don’t forget to visit their gift shop, replete with Sarah-and-Andy visors, mugs, aprons, Frisbees and much more.
There’s also WeddingIdea.com. “Your own wedding Web site can become the focal point for up-to-date information for all your wedding-related needs,” the site reads. “It is the perfect way to keep family and friends informed with the latest news and pictures, all in your own advertising-free environment!”
WeddingIdea.com allows couples to create invitations, reminders and e-cards. Couples can post up to 100 photos on their personalized sites, and include a gift list.
And stay tuned to WillYouMarryMe.com. At this Web-page-in-the-works, “You can propose online with your very own proposal page that is made up of all the great information that you think is necessary.”
LegalZoom.com—”your online legal source”—was co-founded by Robert Shapiro, one of O.J. Simpson’s attorneys. One can obtain legal services on matters involving living wills, trademarks, power of attorney and more … including divorce.
“Just answer four questions to start your divorce!” reads the site. It explains the nature of an uncontested divorce and how you can start the paperwork for such immediately.
A divorce with no minor children costs $249. If minor children are involved, that costs $50 more. One fills out an online questionnaire, another e-mail questionnaire, signs forms and the legal team at LegalZoom.com does most of the rest.
CompleteCase.com bills itself as “the premier online uncontested divorce service center.” Its fee: $249. Virtually every major media outlet has covered CompleteCase.com.
“We are proud of the innovative service provided to our customers for the first time in history,” the site reads.
There are also sites like DivorceSource.com, that don’t offer divorce services, but instead collect sources people might need: forms, property agreement, state law, child support calculations, etc.
And there’s TheDivorceSite.com, which provides everything needed to file one’s own divorce. This site has divisions like “legal basics,” “splitting assets,” “division of debts” and “child custody.”
And yes, in July a probate judge in Massachusetts gave “virtual visitation” rights to a father whose ex-wife is moving their three children to New York.
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.