The internet has made cheap divorces possible. Previously, you had only one option: to hire a divorce lawyer. Now your options include forms packets, legal aid websites, and even cheap online divorce platforms that ask questions and fill out the forms for you. Here are five options to help you save money on your divorce.
1. Stay civil with your spouse
Cheap divorces come from civil and cooperative relationships. If this is your situation, take advantage of it and make your divorce a negotiation rather than a fight.
Of course, that doesn’t mean your divorce will be completely conflict-free. But if you have a cooperative attitude and can discuss disagreements, you’re more likely to find a solution that works for both of you.
Courtesy also saves money, as you and your spouse can split expenses. Even the cheapest divorce may involve filing fees, mediators, online divorce filing, or other less expensive methods.
2. Use Your State’s Free Online Divorce Options
States or legal aid organizations may offer any or all of the following free or inexpensive divorce resources for people looking for the cheapest way to end a marriage:
- Free forms available at your county courthouse
- Online interactive interviews
- Interactive forms or form packages with instructions
Most county courthouses provide free divorce form packets. Court staff can help you with basic information such as filing fees, which form package to use, and where to file your documents. But they can’t give you legal advice, like “Should I ask for child support?” »
Some states and their legal aid organizations offer online interviews or interactive questionnaires. These platforms ask you questions about the terms of your marriage and divorce and insert the answers into your forms.
Many states offer online divorce forms to download. Court and legal aid websites can also provide step-by-step instructions, video walkthroughs and interactive quizzes to help you. Unfortunately, some states provide forms without instructions.
Other states provide limited forms. Hawaii only provides forms for uncontested divorces, and Texas limits self-help to divorces without children or real estate. If your state limits online divorce resources, you may need to rely on a commercial online divorce provider.
3. Check out nonprofit legal aid organizations
Legal aid organizations sponsor DIY platforms and packages. They also offer legal services if you qualify. If your income is well below your state’s median incomeyou can benefit from free legal services.
However, legal aid services may have strict standards. In some states, the demand for free legal services is so high that you could find yourself on a long waiting list before you can receive help.
Another option is moderate means programs. These programs provide low-cost legal services to low- and middle-income people. You can find a moderate means program on the websites of your state bar association or court. LawHelp.org also offers help find programs in your state or area.
4. Hire an inexpensive divorce document preparer
If your online options are limited, you may want to hire a certified legal document preparer (CLDP). Also called paralegal services, document preparers complete legal documents for people who do not have a lawyer. Typically, they must undergo a background check, pass an exam, and have two years of experience in the legal field before preparing paperwork.
Document preparers were more popular before the internet, but you can still find them by searching for “cheap divorce near me” or similar terms.
Be aware that document preparers cannot give you legal advice. They can refer you to the relevant law, so you can decide what to put in your divorce papers.
5. File a cheap divorce online using commercial services
If your state doesn’t offer free services or you can’t find forms suitable for your situation, commercial online divorce services may be your solution.
A cheap divorce online provider completes your divorce paperwork through guided interviews. Before getting started, these services typically start with three questions:
- Do you know where to find your spouse?
- Does your spouse agree to the terms of the divorce and will he sign the papers with you?
- Do you have children under 18?
If you answer “no” to any of the first questions, you cannot file for divorce online through any service. Indeed, online divorce is designed for couples who have already agreed to divorce and its conditions. It does not handle high-conflict situations or marriages involving abuse, supervised parenting time, or drug or alcohol addiction. Also, if a spouse abandons you and disappears, the divorce process is complicated and may require the advice of a lawyer.
Looking for cheap divorce options?
It can be difficult to find the cheapest way to get a divorce. Here is an option this will help you get started.
Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information, but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have any legal questions, you should seek the advice of a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.