When preparing for a divorce, you need to be sure that you are ready for this process both emotionally and financially. Even if you and your spouse are not willing to fight in court with a team of lawyers and other experts, you will still have to pay lots of money if you require at least minimal legal assistance.
An average cost of an uncontested divorce across the US is $4,000, a sum that may be unaffordable for many spouses. However, many divorcing couples are often unaware of an alternative option that can make this process much cheaper and easier – an Internet divorce.
Is online divorce safe and legal? How to choose the best service? You will find all the answers in this article.
What Are Online Divorce Services?
These are the services that help you file for divorce online without hiring a lawyer or getting into the depths of legal terminology and processes. With such a company, you can receive the necessary paperwork, which will be fully or partially filled out. Also, many companies will provide you with either filing instructions for free or filing services for an extra fee. Why are such services in demand if forms are available online?
Since many divorcing couples do not have a relevant legal background, they often struggle to find the forms they are required to file on their own. Reasons vary:
- Some state websites have free-to-download forms but won’t instruct you on which to choose or how to fill them out.
- Certain sites even have auto-filling options but don’t simplify the terminology and confuse the visitors to the point they file incorrect information with the court.
- Other state websites do not give access to the forms at all, so the spouses must look for them elsewhere.
This often leads to situations when outdated or incorrect papers are downloaded from random sites and are filled out just as randomly. When the petitioner comes to the clerk’s office with such documents, they find out that the court cannot accept them, something is missing, or certain information is incorrect. They realize it after they've already paid the court fee and will have to pay it again when filing later. Therefore, couples prefer their paperwork to be taken care of by companies that offer cheap yet reliable form preparation services.
How Does Online Divorce Work?
Getting divorced online doesn’t mean that you will never have to set foot in court. Most states require you to file in person and visit the court hearing, although there are some exceptions that certain companies may cover. In most cases, you will be able to learn if you can get divorced online on the website.
When it comes to the use of online divorce services, their processes are pretty straightforward. Usually, you need to take the following steps:
Сheck whether an online service is a right choice for you.
Most often, it presupposes that your case should be uncontested. If you do not have any disputes with your spouse and have made joint decisions on custody of your children, who will pay the child support, who will get the house and other assets, and so on, it means you don’t necessarily have to involve an attorney and can proceed with the online process.
Secondly, you will need to check if you, as a petitioner, and your children meet the residency requirements of the state and county you plan to file in. This is a mandatory step because the local court won’t have jurisdiction to make certain decisions in your case otherwise.
Complete the questionnaire.
Fill out the basic details such as your name, your spouse’s name, addresses, and names of your children as well as their ages. If you have property or debts that you plan to divide, you need to fill in the details on their division. Finally, you need to review your questionnaire and check whether all the information that you provide is correct and factual.
Download and review your forms.
After submitting your answers, you will have to wait for a few days to receive your forms – the timing will depend on the service you use and the extras you choose. Review the paperwork attentively in order to ensure that there are no inaccuracies. Then you can download and sign your papers – some in front of the notary.
File the paperwork with the court clerk.
When you’re done with signing, you can file the documents with the court of your county. You will also need to pay the filing fee, which varies depending on the county and state of your residency. Our service offers a step-by-step filing guide free of charge so that you can file your forms fast without wasting your time searching for further information. There are also some companies that can file your documents for you. However, you should be ready to spend an extra $300-500 for this service, court filing fees excluded.
What Are Online Divorce Services?
Yes, they are completely legal, and you can get legit divorce papers at a reliable service without leaving your house. If you get the paperwork from a trustworthy company, you can be sure that their forms are court-approved and kept up-to-date by their team. You will never face any issues in the court ordering papers from a reliable company as long as you make sure that all the information you have provided in the questionnaire is accurate and correct.
Please note that for every case, there should be a personalized package of forms that are needed for a specific divorce situation. For example, if the couple has children, they will need forms covering custody and financial aspects that are not required for childless divorce. Finally, the documents may differ completely from state to state. The complexity of the paperwork preparation process is the reason why more and more couples seek online assistance to get a simple divorce without spending too much money.
Where Can I Get Divorce Papers Online?
If your divorce is a full agreement, no-fault, and uncontested one, you may get help with papers online in most states. There are many online services ready to help you with the paperwork, but it’s important to choose the one that is reliable and capable of meeting your specific needs.
For example, our service has been in business for years now and has helped thousands of couples to end their marriage successfully without incurring unnecessary expenses. You can get your packet of forms from our website for only $139 just by completing a simple questionnaire. The price remains the same if you have children, property, or assets. Besides, we offer great extras that are, while completely optional, very useful for spouses who are in a rush or need the print-outs.
How Reliable Are Online Divorce Services?
Most online divorce services offering a cheap and easy way to get your divorce might be seen as scams – after all, we’ve all been taught for years that divorce is complicated and expensive. Yet, online divorce is legal, and thousands of couples end their marriages this way yearly. As long as you find a reliable company and ensure that you qualify for the type of divorce they help with, you will receive quick and affordable assistance with your marriage dissolution.
However, divorce online can be a terrible idea if your family situation is complicated. For example, if you were working towards an uncontested divorce but suddenly realized that you could not reach a consensus on child custody or property division, you need a lawyer or a mediator. The same goes for cases with a history of abuse, where the affected spouse received a restraining or protective order. In such stations, online services may be of no help, and getting a lawyer will be the one sure thing to protect a victim of abuse.
What are the Benefits of Online Divorce?
Let’s make a divorce lawyers vs. online divorce comparison:
If you have decided to work with a lawyer, be ready to pay $270 per hour, which is an average fee across the states. It can be much bigger depending on the lawyer’s experience or even your location. An online option will cost you much less than even a one hour-consultation with an attorney. If you choose to work with OnlineDivorcer, you will pay only $139.
Working with a lawyer means having at least a few meetings, in-person or online, which can be scheduled at hours that are not convenient for you. With an online divorce, all the steps can be taken from the comfort of your home via any device: smartphone, laptop, or desktop.
A reliable method.
Of course, working with a lawyer is a reliable way of getting a divorce, but many people cannot afford to hire one. Ordering paperwork from the online divorce service, you will get the same court-approved packet of forms but at a much lower cost, along with detailed filing instructions.
Which Online Divorce Service Is Best?
There are dozens of online divorce services on the Web. So how do you choose the best one? We have compiled a list of important aspects to pay attention to when you are looking for a company to work with:
- Positive feedback. Reviews are a great way to find out about the pros or cons of a product or service. So, when searching for an online divorce provider, first thing first, read some reviews on online divorce on websites like Trustpilot or Yelp.
- Cost. It’s best to work with companies that offer their services at a flat fee. When visiting a service website, read their FAQs or any other sources to check what is included in their price. This way, you can avoid possible hidden fees or surcharges. For example, OnlineDivorcer has a flat fee of $139 for any number of forms.
- Customer support. New websites and questionnaires may seem confusing, and it’s totally fine! Any service that cares about its clients has a team of customer support agents to provide their assistance at any time.
- Refunds. Bugs and mistakes happen, and no service is immune from them. A good company that cares about its reputation will provide you with at least two options: free paperwork update or a refund if they haven’t delivered on their promises. If the company you were considering is not mentioning the possibility of editing, updating, or refunds on their website, it’s better to avoid it.
Overall, don't hesitate to contact the chosen company and ask for information on their services, potential recurring fees, and refund options to make the choice that’s best for you.