Any lawyer will tell you that contesting a divorce will cost you time and money. A contested divorce is a dissolution of marriage when either spouse refuses to divorce and disagrees with child custody, child or spousal support, or marital property division. Resolving issues will require an attorney for each spouse and many hours of legal paperwork, court hearings, and red tape. In the US, the average contested divorce takes at least 18 months. As you can imagine, these types of trials don’t come for free. Legal fees vary significantly from state to state. Besides, the complexity of the process determines how much you will pay your lawyer. Kentucky has the lowest average divorce attorneys’ fees of $8,100.
What if you want to get a divorce quickly and cheaply? Is it possible in the US? Yes, but only for those spouses who are able to resolve all disagreements amicably. It is up to you whether to remain friends with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse or not, but your ability to put your differences aside and settle what is important now for you both to move on is a crucial factor.
If the spouses are on the same page with all the major issues and can cooperate, an uncontested divorce gets so much easier. Easy enough, in fact, that they can do it without an attorney. Called a Do-It-Yourself divorce, this process is the most affordable one because the petitioner skips legal fees by filing without the assistance of an attorney.
Step-To-Step Guide on How To Apply for Divorce
Step 1. Obtain the necessary forms. For this, go to your local courthouse. While you are there, find out how much the filing fees are, with (or without) children in your county. You could also get state-specific forms from one of the web companies offering to complete divorce online.
Step 2. Completing the forms. Fill out the forms at home detailing your income, property, insurance, the children’s residence, and other personal information. As for grounds for divorce, all US states are no-fault, which means that ‘irreconcilable differences’ are a viable reason to request to split up. Do not sign the completed forms right away. They should be signed in the presence of a notary. Make two copies of each form and bring them to the courthouse.
Step 3. File for it. The court’s clerk reviews and accepts the paperwork if the requirements are met and the filing fees are paid. A case number goes on all the documents. The court’s clerk stamps and gives you back the paperwork. Now you assemble each copy into a package to serve on your spouse.
Step 4. Serve the respondent. Many states permit the divorcing spouses who agree on the terms to submit a service waiver or acceptance of service form. Clarify with the court’s clerk the exact rules for serving the papers in your county. Typically, state family law gives some time for the respondent to file an answer.
Step 5. Sign a settlement agreement. Many states require a waiting period after the respondent’s answer so that divorcing couples could make sure that they really want to pursue divorce and finally iron out all their disagreements on child support and alimony payments, visitation schedules, distribution of marital assets, and allocation of debts. These issues are memorialized in a settlement agreement filed for the judge to review before a divorce is finalized.
DIY Divorce as the Best Way to Save Time and Money
Filing for an uncontested divorce is a rather straightforward process. Each US state has a self-help center where legal advice is not provided, but all the stages and steps of the proceedings are clearly explained. If you want to be confident that you did it right, use internet divorce services like divorceonlinegeorgia.com and get their help in filling out your paperwork.
How does doing it online save time? When downloading court forms from the Internet, you can mistakenly complete the wrong set of forms. However, online companies provide state-specific forms approved statewide. If you do not fill out legal paperwork too often, you can overlook a mistake or more. Online document preparation companies prepare custom-generated forms based on a questionnaire you complete beforehand and send you detailed filing instructions. By preparing your paperwork impeccably with proper assistance, you will save time on resubmitting your petition in case of incorrect completion.
How does online divorce save money? When divorcing spouses figure out how to split parental duties, visiting schedules, and marital assets, they have no reason to hire lawyers. By preparing an error-free application for divorce online, couples pay a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, indigenous or low-income families can get a filing fee waiver if they can include proof of their income.
Opting for an online divorce is really a no-brainer, especially if you already live in different locations. There’s no need for either party to go to court if all the paperwork can be handled online and via email. Not only will this save you time, but you also will not have to see your ex, especially if your separation is difficult for both of you.
Before you get a divorce, you need to be absolutely sure that this is something you want. Once you are positive explore your options and see if you can do it as painless as possible. Going to trial, unless there’s a need will only do harm to both parties so make sure you save this for last, and only if it is necesasary.
Getting a divorce in the US is increasingly becoming a privilege of the affluent. However, hiring an attorney and paying huge legal fees is not mandatory. When skipping legal fees, a divorce can really be inexpensive. Agree with your spouse on custody, support, and marital assets and use only the help you absolutely need. Preparing the paperwork for your divorce over the internet is an affordable and useful idea that will help you handle it as fast as possible.