While a DIY divorce is not the best option in every situation, there are a number of cases in which this method of divorce can save spouses stress, time and unnecessary costs. Handling your own divorce process by making use of the many shortcuts and available free services can save you a lot of money and extra steps often taken when you make use of professionals. There are a number of different ways in which a DIY divorce can save you money. Before we look into these, it is important to note the situations where a DIY divorce is most suitable for you:
- Your divorce is an uncontested divorce.
- There is an agreement between you and your spouse as to how all your assets should be divided as well as an agreement on custody and maintenance of any children.
- You and your spouse are both comfortable with the arrangements you have agreed upon, specifically those which relate to the care of your children.
- You are certain that your financial situation is straightforward and that there are no hidden assets or debts between you and your spouse.
If you are certain that a DIY divorce suits your situation, let’s run through the different ways in which a DIY divorce can be affordable and how you can save on costs and unnecessary steps.
Filing for an Online Divorce
By making use of your local county court website, you will be able to download the divorce papers you need to file for divorce. These websites contain a great deal of information and insight into how these forms should be filled out and what documentation will need to accompany them. By downloading and completing your own forms, you will be saving on the costs of using an attorney or professional for this step.
Consult with Your County Clerk
Although every county is different, your county clerk may also be able to greatly assist you in compiling your divorce documents and point you in the direction of a useful library or other sources of information which may help you through the process. These clerks have a wealth of experience in the process from start to finish and will be able to provide guidance which is solid and reliable. Although a county clerk cannot give you legal advice, they have a great deal of knowledge of how the process works. This is a free resource that shouldn’t be overlooked if you are planning a DIY divorce.
Make Use of Legal Document Preparers
Sometimes referred to as paralegals, legal document preparers (or LDPs), can assist you during the process of preparing your forms. LDPs are not able to offer legal advice but can prepare your divorce forms and file them on your behalf based on the information you provide to them. You will typically be given a questionnaire to fill out which the LDP will then use to complete your divorce forms. These services are only offered in the case of uncontested divorces and, depending on your area and situation, can cost between $175 and $700. While this may still seem like a huge cost, it is much less than an attorney would charge you.
Consider Doing Your Divorce Over the Internet
While this might not feel comfortable, you may be able to complete a majority of your divorce process online. Filing for divorce online can save you time waiting in queues at the county court and save you money by bypassing face to face interaction needed with professionals. Nearly all county court websites will allow you to download your divorce papers from their site. Depending on where you live, your county may also allow you to file the papers online by uploading them back to their website. Doing these simple steps for your divorce process without an attorney will save you hundreds of dollars.
Use a Mediator
Mediators are one of the greatest resources to help you complete your own DIY divorce without having to employ the services of an attorney. In cases where you may have disagreements, a mediator will be able to effectively facilitate the discussion between you and your spouse to reach an agreeable outcome. Using a mediator may mean the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce. Mediators are not able to provide legal advice but can guide your negotiations in an effective manner which will save you time and money by ensuring you don’t need to resort to consulting with lawyers.
Make Use of Free Services
Many spouses considering divorce are of the view that they will need to hire an attorney from start to finish which will cost them an exorbitant amount of money. While a cheap divorce is difficult to guarantee, there is a lot of money that can be saved by using free consultations during your DIY divorce. Many legal and financial professionals offer your first consultation for free. If you are organized and have a good handle on what specific questions you may have, you can use this consultation for clarity and any guidance you may need. Taking advantage of these free consultations can save you a huge amount of money and hassle.
The cost of divorce and the extended length of time the entire process takes can be traumatic for both spouses. By taking the route of a DIY divorce, you will be able to save yourself and your spouse a considerable amount of time and money as the entire process can be as short as 6 weeks. This is in contrast to a more complex divorce which requires extensive negotiation and assistance from lawyers which can take up to 6 months. The shortened time which a DIY offers assumes that your divorce is uncontested and that you and your spouse are organized in presenting and submitting all the relevant documentation needed for your divorce to be successfully processed.
Make Use of Professionals Where Needed
Although a DIY divorce involves making use of many free services and the handling of all administration yourself, it is important to consult a professional in areas where you feel that you need guidance or are unclear. This can save you a lot of money in the long run as, should you overlook or miss a potential complication during your divorce, you may end up paying more in the long run. It is important to take a pragmatic approach during your DIY divorce and consult professional help when you feel out of your depth and need guidance.
DIY divorces are becoming increasingly more popular, and the methods for facilitating them are improving. Keep the channels of communication with your spouse open and honest. Include them every step of the way to ensure you are always on the same page. Taking note of the above principles and tips of a DIY divorce can save you stress and unnecessary wasted time while ensuring that your divorce is completed in the most cost-effective way.