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The good news, getting a cheap divorce is possible. Even without money, you can handle the divorce papers.

If your marriage has come to an end and you are looking for a guide to divorce, especially one that does not cost too much, you have options. Affordable divorce can be done in several ways, but couples need to actively work together for the best results.

We know that is a big ask because if you were that friendly, you would not likely be splitting up in the first place. No matter how bad your marriage has been in the recent months or years, if you really want a cheap divorce you are going to have to suck it up, be nice, and play fair between now and when the entire process is over. Even in cases where there has been adultery or, worse, child abuse, you have to set aside your anger and bias and work toward the common goal of a successful end to your marriage.

Depending on your legal jurisdiction (state and county where you live), the laws are not necessarily the same throughout the entire country. All states, counties, and major urban centers have government websites and offices to help you understand the laws like residency requirements, divorcing with minor children, uncontested divorce forms, and more in your jurisdiction. Don’t listen to advice from family and friends (who will be biased in your favor); go to the official source and get the facts.

In this article, you will learn all about low-cost divorces. With our help, you will know the most important facts about this process. Here you have the main points:

  • What is the price of a divorce?
  • Best way to get a cheap divorce
  • Who covers the attorney fees during the process
  • Pro Se Divorce – Do It Yourself
  • How to divorce for free and how to handle divorce paperwork yourself

Quick Reminders

To get an uncontested divorce for free (almost), follow these steps:

  1. Write down all the questions you can imagine – make them rain!
  2. Book a free divorce consultation with an attorney to get assistance about the process, divorce papers, and other important aspects
  3. Request a fee waiver or indigent divorce from your divorce court
  4. Work together with your partner to agree on everything in advance
  5. Move the process quickly before your partner changes his/her mind

What is Separation vs Divorce?

In many, but not all, couples often sign a separation agreement and legally separate during this more vulnerable time before the finality of divorce. Why?

A separation agreement sets many of the terms for later on. In some jurisdictions, a one-year separation may be legally required before being able to get a final divorce. The separation period is like a testing ground for how everything will pan out. If aspects of the separation are not working, there is time to sort them out before any marital settlement agreement is signed. Even cheap divorces cost some money, so best to iron out the snags before signing for the final time.

If minor children are involved, a separation will allow divorcing parents to test drive the custody arrangements. Generally, a legal separation allows people to ensure they are doing the right thing and in the proper way, the way that works for them. It is an added expense, but if the terms work out all right, then they become the essence of the divorce settlement, so can save money in the long run.

These days, most separations and divorces focus on a 50/50 property division and an equal division of debts, unless there are unusual circumstances. For example, the wife inherits a special set of dishware from a deceased grandparent and it has great sentimental value to her but means nothing to the husband. 

In such a case, one of two likely outcomes occurs:

  1. He lets her have the dishes; or
  2. She pays him a sum of money from her half of the asset so she owns it entirely.

Of course, there are mitigating circumstances. He is the sole breadwinner and she has been a stay-at-home mom with no outside earnings. These are issues for spousal support, and will normally be addressed outside of the division of assets. There also needs to be discussions, even if temporary, for the support of your minor children.

A Word on Reasons for Divorce

A couple of decades ago, most divorcing couples had to have a legitimate reason to get divorced, such as infidelity. Not so anymore. Virtually all divorces are granted due to irreconcilable differences. In short, “We don’t like each other anymore.”

It’s advisable to aim for an amicable and friendly divorce, as it will save you plenty of money. The stats support our claims since a normal uncontested divorce will cost you approximately $1,700, whereas a normal contested divorce can cost you approx. $20,000 or more.

If you experience issues at any of the stages of the entire process, you should consider hiring someone to represent you, or alternatively, opt for divorce coaching, or mediation.

What are the Best Arguments for Uncontested Divorce?

In case you are looking forward to achieving an amicable divorce, then you can save 1000s of dollars. This is the cornerstone of uncontested divorce. Therefore, it’s an excellent choice if you are looking to save as much as possible on divorce finances. An uncontested divorce will cost you an average of $1,700, whereas a contested case can go beyond $20,000.

Even if you and your ex-partner don’t agree on everything, you can still treat it as an uncontested divorce because you are avoiding the need of bringing the case to court. However, we recommend you to consult a divorce lawyer if you face difficulties.

If you accomplish this, you will experience a smooth divorce process, and of course, a happier post-divorce life. Therefore, if you want to save money and the emotional stress of a traditional divorce process, opt for agreeing with your ex-spouse on almost everything.

You will get rid of constant hearings, dealing with witnesses, and fighting day and night. That won’t be good for your mental and emotional health. Aim for an uncontested divorce to save money and time, and to protect your integrity.

What Kinds of Cheap Divorce are There?

It seems there are two issues that will put “cheap” into perspective. Even states may have special requirements depending upon which category you fall within. These can include extra forms, hearings, or special classes.

Divorce Without Minor Children

  • This will make your situation much cheaper, and quicker. 
  • Thankfully you won’t have to worry about the effects your divorce could have on any children.

Divorce With Minor Children

  • You and your partner are going to divorce with kids. 
  • Normally, children in your custody under the age of 18 are considered minor children.

Some people believe that a do-it-yourself divorce is the cheapest way, and while it might be the case, neither you nor your spouse are experts in this situation, and the law takes many paths. Others want out so badly (and quickly) that they will pay anything just to get it done and over with. The latter tend to be wealthy enough to afford a good lawyer (or team of them) and don’t care how much their divorce costs.

The best cheap divorces are not free (nothing in life is), although there is, in some areas, such a thing as a free divorce lawyer for low-income earners. Check with your local social services office or the family court to see if you qualify for something like a waiver, or legal aid clinics for indigents.

Usually, a combination of D-I-Y and some level of legal professional assistance works best and makes for an affordable, if not cheap, uncontested divorce. Here are a few ways to do this, rated according to who benefits most from each type, and on a graduated scale from an inexpensive divorce to almost free.

Keep in mind that divorcing without a lawyer can be complex and hard since you are doing everything on your own. Therefore, evaluate if it is really worth it and if you can invest in proper legal advice, mediation, and/or coaching.

Divorce Cheap and Get a Quick Divorce

Who should go for the basic cheap divorce?

  • People who know what they want with basically a no-fault divorce, 
  • are fairly amicable, 
  • have uncomplicated assets to divide, 
  • the division of property will be easy,
  • and don’t really need anyone to help split anything else evenly. 

In other words, people who have basically fallen out of love and just want to move forward with their lives in the simplest way possible. Uncontested divorces work best for couples without children which avoids any child custody problems, but it is more often those parents with children that have heavy day-to-day expenses and can least afford to hire paid legal assistance.

How does a cheap divorce look? The separating couple sits down with a promise to keep fighting in check and makes a list of assets and liabilities, then splits it agreeably, evenly down the middle. You keep your car and clothes; I keep mine. Mutual things like furniture get divided based on either value or need. Normally circumstances easy like this are for sure a no-fault divorce and will be uncontested.

Then they decide who will stay in the family home, which may not be the case if the premises are rented, or maybe a moot point if one partner is taking sole custody of the children, or if one of them is moving a long-distance away. 

Once the list is made and all questions have been answered, they approach someone to formalize their uncontested divorce into a legal agreement with divorce papers, making sure all the legal requirements have been satisfied.

This may be:

  • a lawyer
  • a paralegal
  • a mediator
  • a coach
  • even yourselves

The basic divorce procedures are manageable if you can set aside your differences long enough to take a calm approach to the division of assets. If you have done this part of the homework, you can pay an attorney to simply put things in order and get the divorce papers to the county courthouse.

But what if you can’t afford a divorce attorney?

Cheaper Option for Uncontested Divorce or an At-Fault Divorce

Who should use these options? Couples who are able to be civil when they need to be and have at least some money set aside to pay for a quick divorce (there is a cost to file divorce papers, whether you use a lawyer or not), but maybe have some unsettled matters, like custody or support, and are struggling to agree on some points of the divorce arrangements.

Divorcing couples that need a little guidance can start with a free divorce consultation, or an impartial divorce mediator would find it less expensive to find a totally unbiased person who can help.

Rather than paying a huge hourly fee for a fully qualified lawyer, hire a paralegal. They are trained in aspects of family law and can help draft a separation or divorce form. Another option is divorce mediation. Who you hire or retain to handle this depends on how cheap you need to go. Here are a few options:

  • An official divorce mediator. These people act as arbitrators. For example, you think you should get your car plus all the furniture because your spouse has a better car. A mediator will help you balance out issues that are not fair or points of argument. They charge a fee; in most cases, hourly, but a few charge an affordable flat fee.
  • A third party who can remain impartial. For example, a mutual friend, perhaps someone older with a lot of life experience and a level head. Someone who likes you both and does not favor either of you. Tell this person your sticking points and ask them to help you settle those matters. This is tricky; friendship might be at stake, but it’s cheap.

Then, if you’re not filing the papers yourselves, go to a low-cost lawyer with your personally written arrangement and have it transcribed into a marital settlement agreement. 

But what if even the filing fee is out of your range of being affordable?


You can write a D-I-Y divorce for next to nothing (again, though, odds are very high you will still have to pay a filing fee in court). In order to do this, you have no option but to sit down with your soon-to-be ex and keep your cool. The more you agree on, the less you have to pay a professional to either make an arbitrary decision on your behalf or end up in court over legal points (probably about which you know zero, no matter how many episodes of “The Practice” you have watched).

Make note of this and highlight it: if you end up unable to at least agree on most aspects of your divorce and end up in court, “cheap” just got erased from your dictionary and you’ll never see a quick divorce happening for you and your hopes of an online divorce have flown out the window never to be seen again by either of you. This isn’t the type of divorce you want to experience.

At times, and even more costly than the divorce itself, are child custody arrangements because the parents want to control the kids. If you’ve been arguing about this then you’re not going to have a simple divorce.

Using a professional, be that mediator, paralegal, or lawyer, even for only the final divorce paperwork taken from the notes you wrote yourselves, you are better off. Doing a completely DIY divorce may be the cheapest, but guaranteed you will have missed something and that can sneak up and bite you down the road.

A DIY divorce is the most affordable way if you meet the basics like residency requirements. You only need to cover some costs such as the legal fee for paperwork or ling of your divorce. It can cost you anywhere from $300 to $1,500, making it largely more affordable than hiring a divorce lawyer, who can cost you anywhere from $150 to $500 per hour.

Nonetheless, remember that you will have to support yourself alone through the process. During divorce finances can become tighter and less available. Divorces tend to be hard on emotional and mental health, since there is a lot of pressure, even if it’s a case of uncontested divorce.

Even if you can’t afford an attorney, consider hiring a divorce coach to receive emotional support and guidance. For a lower fee, you can get the foundation you need to handle the process correctly, especially when it comes to touchy matters such as child custody and child support in case you’re getting a divorce with kids. Working with some professionals to help get a complete agreement is a great way to finalize your split with an online divorce.

Our Best Advice to Lower Divorce Costs: Avoid Court

If you negotiate an uncontested divorce that costs you a few hundred dollars but leads you into court in the future, you have not saved a cent. Be prepared to pay a professional at least a little money to ensure your divorce is 100% legal and will stand the test of being challenged.

Your marriage failed; try to have a successful divorce so you can learn your lessons, start a new life, and have a better marriage next time.

How Can You Have a Successful Split After a Bad Marriage?

  • Stop blaming each other; admit it’s over and intentionally plan a good divorce. Let the past go.
  • Put your arguments away and have a sensible discussion about the future and your pending divorce. Count on there being a few disagreements. Make a commitment to work through them; you can do it.
  • Once you are comfortable with the terms you have agreed upon, pay for professional help to go over your arrangement and set it into simple, but formal, legal terms without the chance of mistakes that could haunt your future through further divorce proceedings.
  • It cost you or your parents a bundle to get married; you need to accept that and honor your marriage, even if it’s dead, by agreeing upon a fair divorce, especially if there are children born of this marriage.

An Affordable Divorce is Important

Most people facing divorce panic because they already think they won’t get their “fair share”. They may hire an expensive divorce attorney to navigate the process and do some tough negotiations with your ex.

However, you’ll need to weigh what you expected to get as part of your “fair share” and what the attorney actually cost you in the end.

Divorce is like almost everything else: you get what you pay for. The more homework you do, in the greatest spirit of cooperation, will result in less money being spent on lawyers and family court time to finally get your marriage dissolution. Remember an online divorce isn’t the waive of a magic wand and your marriage is magically over.

One of the more famous divorce quotes I’ve heard, and I think maybe it came from Johnny Carson of the “Tonight Show”, said… “Divorce is so expensive but it’s worth every penny!” 

If you are facing divorce proceedings, or know someone who is, we hope this article helped you and we’d like to suggest you share it with others who might find themselves in the same nasty situation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheap Divorce

Below, find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about low-cost divorce. Let us help you to make it happen by answering your doubts about divorce papers, costs, fees, etc.

Is It Possible to Get a Quick Divorce?

Absolutely, and most times the faster the divorce, the cheaper it will end up costing you.

Uncontested Take Less Time Than Contested

Normally they can because neither ex-spouse is arguing about who gets this asset and who pays this debt. The worst part that can take the most time is usually agreeing on spousal maintenance and child support for the minor children.

No-Fault versus a No-Fault Divorce

Nowadays, most states opt to include a “No Fault Divorce” because it’s easier. Sometimes a married couple just wants out of it and there isn’t any reason to spend months pointing fingers at each other in family court or airing everyone’s dirty laundry.

Filing for Divorce Without a Lawyer

This is certainly one of your rights in America. They can however come in handy when you struggle with some terminology in the divorce petition or are at a loss about what the court really wants to know. Sometimes, but not always, your family court administrator or secretary may be able to help. Since they aren’t attorneys, they cannot help you with the preparation of legal documents though. Not even easy uncontested divorce forms.

Benefits of an Online Divorce Service

Much like filing for marriage dissolution without an attorney, you’ll end up doing the paperwork through an online service instead. The online paperwork and forms still need to be submitted to your local family divorce court. Don’t assume that you’re washing your hands of a lot of work opting for an online divorce.

Flexible Payment Options for a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce professionals normally expect the majority of the payment in advance. This ensures they get paid for their time and talents. However, it’s always easy to ask if they have any payment options that might benefit your situation.

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