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:
To get an uncontested divorce for free (almost), follow these steps:
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Who should go for the basic cheap divorce?
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:
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Absolutely, and most times the faster the divorce, the cheaper it will end up costing you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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