Artificial intelligence is being used to help divorcing couples divide assets and develop a parenting plan for their children.
The technology has the potential to make family law matters cheaper and less stressful.
University of Newcastle researchers Professor Tania Sourdin and Dr Bin Li have examined this technology, including the apps Amica, Adieu and Penda.
Their work was part of a major research project on justice apps at Newcastle Law School.
The Newcastle academics say complex family law cases can "cost each party more than $200,000".
"There is a need for cheaper, smarter dispute resolution options in the family law area," said Professor Sourdin, who is Dean of the university's law school.
Asked if the apps could improve family law, Professor Sourdin said: "Yes, for some people an app can help".
"In a way it may make it easier because the time frames might be shorter.
"Also not having to talk with your former partner can be helpful where there are no children."
Some apps also support "easy referral to counselling, mediation and other services, which can be very useful".
"Often people who are self represented need support and there is evidence that a lot of people have difficulty finalising arrangements without a lawyer," she said.
Apps can help reduce legal costs while ensuring that people have access to a lawyer when needed.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on relationships, amid reports that lockdown and job losses has led to more strain between couples and separations.
The use of apps to settle family law disputes seem suited to the times.
"It is where society is heading. Many people want to access the justice system from their home 24-7," Professor Sourdin said.
"Apps can help with this and also provide referral to professionals when needed."
Dr Li said the trend towards such apps was "much clearer" in the pandemic.
The federal government is supporting apps with artificial intelligence to "empower separating couples to resolve their family law disputes online".
Attorney-General Christian Porter issued a press release last month about the Amica app.
National Legal Aid developed Amica with $3 million in federal funding.
This app is suitable for couples whose relationship is "relatively amicable".
"Amica uses artificial-intelligence technology to suggest the split of assets," Mr Porter said.
He added that Amica considers a couple's circumstances, agreements reached by couples in similar situations and how courts generally handle disputes of the same nature.
"The tool can also assist parents to develop a parenting plan for their children."
The Morrison government wants to improve the family law system to make it "faster, simpler, cheaper and much less stressful for separating couples and their children".
The government believes Amica will help couples resolve disputes between themselves and avoid court.
The app is aimed at reducing legal bills for separating couples and pressure on family law courts.
Dr Li, a lecturer at the university's law school, said there had been "extensive discussion and debate on the reform of the family law system in Australia".
He said the apps could "alleviate the burden of courts and the load on judges".
Professor Sourdin said the apps "need to be carefully developed".
"There are concerns they may not function well and that the data used to power the AI [artificial intelligence] is deficient," she said.
"There are also real issues about how effective justice apps can be where there is a lack of agreement about what the issues are or what evidence is correct.
"Law can be very complex and requires contextual understandings."
There are also concerns about digital literacy and access to technology.
However, Professor Sourdin was surprised when their review of the Adieu justice app showed users were older than expected.
"For example 41 per cent of the 800 or so people who had used the Adieu app had a relationship of more than 15 years," she said.
Dr Li said there was also concern about data and privacy protection.
"What if the data collected by apps are hijacked and used by an unauthorised third party?", he said.
Nevertheless, they say apps in the justice sector can have many benefits.
Professor Sourdin said justice apps could be used to "help people with their legal rights".
"The DoNotPay app that is used in the US is a good example. This app can help people with simple matters - from parking fines to travel refunds," she said.