Can I really get a cheap uncontested divorce online?
July 8, 2009 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Can I really get a cheap uncontested divorce online?

Husband and I agree on how to split things up. I found several websites that advertise they will handle all the paperwork and everything with no lawyer for $149 or $249. Are these legit?
posted by jesirose to Law & Government (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That fee is to fill out paperwork, which you can do yourself. You will still need to pay a court fee to file your divorce. If you still live where your profile says, call your county clerk, they most likely have the forms you need and someone on staff to tell you how to do this. It looks like the basic filing fee is $249.00 in your county.

It might be best to write up everything yourself and then pay for a lawyer's time to look things over. Splitting up assets is much easier than splitting up debt. If you have any credit card debt, mortgages or car loans these must be addressed very specifically.
posted by readery at 8:57 PM on July 8, 2009

Best answer: Hell, I did mine with no lawyer at all (at least for the paperwork). Many states and counties will give you all of the forms online, and as long as you're pretty clear on the division, things should be pretty simple. I did have two visits with a lawyer (half an hour apiece), just to double check that I was preparing everything properly and was covering my own ass properly, but I was pretty pleased with the outcome.

I would suggest having a lawyerly contact, just because even though you think things are cool now, you never know if things will get sticky. You really have to make sure that your own needs are first and foremost. But my ex was cool about it because I was completely upfront with him (even encouraging him to do the same), and he knew that my visits ultimately helped both of us resolve it quickly and painlessly.

Good luck!
posted by Madamina at 9:02 PM on July 8, 2009

When I filed my uncontested divorce paperwork in San Bernardino County, California a couple years ago, the family court department actually had a free workshop on Friday's where clerks from the court would walk a small group through filling out all the necessary paperwork, and would actually then turn some of it in, while clearly informing you what else you needed to turn in and how much you needed to pay.

So, I'd ask around your local courthouse to see if they offer anything like this for your situation.

In fact, I had paid legalzoom to do it, but they had used some outdated forms, so I had to redo them anyway (and it was before I found out about the free court class), so I was out a couple hundred bucks there.
posted by cheeken at 9:52 PM on July 8, 2009

I paid for exactly what you're talking about. The papers costs about 250.00. They came half way filled out. I had to fill out the rest. Then I had to pay the court fee. It worked. but looking back I wish I had done it myself. For a simple, uncontested divorce it's not difficult to do yourself. What I paid for I could have done myself in a few days (at most).
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:57 PM on July 8, 2009

A few weeks ago we were driving through...either Alabama or Georgia and there were huge monster billboards that said "Uncontested Divorce $49.99!".

Of course, beneath that it said something like "we make no claim regarding the quality of representation" or something like that.

So yea, probably.
posted by TomMelee at 5:16 AM on July 9, 2009

Best answer: Definitely check your county's court website, or go into the courthouse, and look for the self-help desk. Uncontested divorce with no children and minimal (or balanced) assets can be done successfully (and often is) without attorneys. The courts generally have the necessary forms and a self-help guide.

Most legal aid around here (Cook County, Illinois) is done at 125% of federal poverty level, but self help desks often do not have income qualifications.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:27 AM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all, I found a packet online for my county with all the instructions and forms.
posted by jesirose at 7:48 AM on July 9, 2009

You *may* end up needing a lawyer anyway, if you and your ex shared property. My ex-partner (commonlaw) and I shared a house and the bank required a legal seperation agreement drawn up by a lawyer before they would agree to transfer the mortgage into my name. They also required that my payment to my ex for his share of the house be put through a lawyers' trust account, in order to fully document that I had paid him. Your financial institution might be less risk-adverse, but you may want to talke with a mortgage officer first.
posted by Kurichina at 8:59 AM on July 9, 2009

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