Have you ever wanted to get divorced, but you were worried that you couldn’t afford it? There are many people who have felt the same. With divorce costing on average $15 000 per person, it’s no wonder people worry that they just can’t afford to end their marriages.
You don’t need to worry though. Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, you can lower the cost dramatically.
1. Do it online
The fastest and most affordable way to get a divorce is to get it online. There are many online companies such as CompleteCase that offer amazing service throughout the entire process. Within 24 hours you will receive your papers, you can then fill out all your documents, add your supporting documents and then have them filed.
They also have online support teams, who will be happy to answer any questions that you might have. An online divorce costs, on average, between $120 and $500. You might have to pay extra for filing fees at your local clerk’s office. But you can be sure that by choosing to use an online service you will save a lot of money and lower the cost of your annulment. Always remember, though, to choose a reputable online company that has experience.
Another way to lower the cost of your marriage dissolution is to have a Do it Yourself divorce. If you decide to go the DIY route there are certain steps that you will need to follow. You could also ask for a court waiver fee. This is allowed for couples who have limited finances to end their marriage.
Find the court that will have jurisdiction over your case. You will have to prepare the proceedings in the family court in the area where you and your spouse live. You and your spouse must be a resident in the state in which you file for your divorce. For most states, this means you should have been living there for at least 6 months, but it can be longer.
- Prepare your petition and pay the appropriate fees. ( or if you are strapped for cash apply for the waiver of fees) You can get your papers online, or at your local clerk’s office. Hand in or mail your documentation.
- Once you have done this you will need to let your spouse know that you are divorcing them. You can do this by hiring a process server to hand-deliver the decree to your spouse. They will need to sign the documentation.
- Agree on the terms with your spouse. Always have any agreements in writing. This will save you money if there are any issues later on.
- Prepare your decree
- Schedule a final hearing to complete the process. You can contact the clerk’s office to set up a date for your final hearing. If your divorce is uncontested you might not even have to see a judge.
By having a DIY divorce, you can really lower the cost of the process.
3. Avoid a Contested Divorce
Sometimes it’s impossible to agree on everything during proceedings. That’s probably a reason why you are splitting up in the first place, not being able to agree on anything; but if you can, get an uncontested divorce. It means that you and your spouse agree to all the terms and conditions. If you can’t agree, rather use a mediator to help you, instead of going to trial.
If you have an uncontested divorce, you can also get it without an attorney. It is faster and cheaper and it will save you both a lot of time. With a contested divorce you will need an attorney, which will also cost you a ton of cash. Lawyers charge per hour. All the time you spend with your lawyer can add up. You can also qualify for a simplified divorce, which is cheap and fast. You will need to meet these requirements to qualify:
- You will have to have no minor children under the age of 18.
- Both spouses must want to separate.
- Neither spouse wants alimony
- You and your spouse do not hold any property together
- Neither spouse should be going through bankruptcy.
The average cost of an uncontested divorce is about $300. This is a huge saving!
4. Don’t just go with the first lawyer
When it comes to getting a cheap divorce, you should also compare lawyer fees. Some lawyers are cheaper, or you could even use a paralegal. You don’t have to go with the most expensive lawyer. The most expensive lawyer doesn’t mean that they are the best. Interview different lawyers and ask them different questions on their fee structure. Do they charge per hour and how much? Do they charge call-out fees, or fees to send emails? Will they file the docs for you, and if so, how much will they charge? Ask what their costs are and make sure that there are no hidden costs.
5. Be organized
If you want to save costs during a divorce, make sure that you are organized. By filing your documentation in the correct order, you can save time, finding exactly what you need when you speak to your lawyer. Write out all your questions, so that you know exactly what to ask your lawyer when you see him. This will help so that you don’t have to see them again to ask more questions.
6. Try to use legal aid divorce help
Find out if there are any lawyers who offer legal aid in your area. You can call your city bar association, or google legal aid divorce help on the internet. These organizations provide help by offering no-cost or low-cost legal aid. If you really have no finances, they can help you file all your documents and help you get a waiver free, all for free.
As you can see there are many ways to save costs during a divorce. You don’t have to break the bank to end your marriage. If you follow these money savings tips, you can be sure that you will be able to get a divorce cheap, fast and efficiently.