Can I File for Divorce Online?
Is a DIY divorce for you?
Due to the high cost of legal fees; women often ask me if they can file for divorce online. The simple answer is, yes, AND no. In many states (not all, yet) you can file your own divorce papers online. In order to find out if your state offers Divorce Online, go to your county court’s website, and see if hey offer e-filing. If you can and choose this option, there are a few things you should consider before making your decision;
First, each state requires its own paperwork. So you’ll need to find the correct documents for your state. Make sure you meet the residency requirements of that state.
There are many companies that offer divorce documents online and some offer a way to enter the information and send it online. They will charge a fee ranging anywhere from $149 on up depending on the company and how many documents your divorce requires. This fee does not include the filing fee required at the courthouse.
Some of these services ask for your information in a simple question and answer format and then they put the information into the correct documents for you.
But you may be able to get the same paperwork from your local courthouse at no charge. They may also be able to help you with filling out the forms.
There are situations where you should not attempt to file your own divorce online. These include:
- If you’ve been married over fifteen years and are seeking alimony.
- If you have a lot of assets or a big debt load to divide.
- If you have stocks and retirement funds.
- If you can’t agree on the terms of child custody, visitation or support.
- If you’re in the military.
- If your spouse has ever been abusive.
- If you think your spouse may be hiding assets.
All of the above are reasons to seek the advice of a lawyer. You may be able to work out some issues with the help of a mediator. This can be less costly and not as stressful as hiring two lawyers. However, you and your spouse need to be willing to work together to come to a fair and honest settlement. A filing fee is still required to file divorce papers and this varies from county to county so you’ll have to check with your local jurisdiction on the exact cost.
Some concerns regarding filing your divorce online:
Make sure you meet all the required deadlines for filing. Include copies of all the required paperwork. This may include copies of financial documents. Be quick to follow up if additional paperwork is requested. A missing document or a box checked in the wrong place can cause a delay in your divorce settlement or even result in the case being thrown out. Once your divorce is settled you can’t go back and change anything or correct mistakes you made, so make sure that you’ve dotted every i, and crossed every t to get the best result! As a DIY divorce you are acting on your own behalf without and attorney and you will be held to the same standards as an attorney even though you may not have much knowledge of the law, so make sure you’ve done everything right.
If you and your soon to be ex are getting along well enough to work together on a do it yourself divorce; then your lawyer fees for an amicable divorce might be less than you think. You might want to at least consider getting a quote before making your final decision.
Remember, you and your children will have to live with the results of your divorce settlement for many years. So seriously consider whether you should seek the professional help of a qualified attorney.