Need a Cheap Divorce? Here Are Some Options

The internet made cheap divorces possible. Previously, you had one option — hire a divorce lawyer. Now, your options include form packets, legal aid websites and even cheap online divorce platforms that ask questions and fill out the forms for you. Here are five options to help you save money on your divorce.

1. Stay Civil With Your Spouse

Cheap divorces come from civil and cooperative relationships. If that’s your situation, take advantage of it and make your divorce a negotiation instead of a fight.

Of course, this doesn’t mean your divorce will be completely conflict-free. But if you go in with a cooperative attitude and can discuss disagreements, you are more likely to find a solution that works for both of you.

Civility also saves money because you and your spouse can split expenses. Even the cheapest divorce may involve filing fees, mediators, online divorce filing or other lower-cost methods.

2. Use Your State’s Free Online Divorce Options

States or legal aid organizations may offer one or all of the following free or cheap divorce resources for people seeking the cheapest way to end a marriage:

  • Free forms available at your county courthouse
  • Interactive online interviews
  • Interactive forms or form packages with instructions

Most county courthouses provide divorce form packets for free. Court staff can help with basic information like filing fees, which form packet to use and where to file your paperwork. But they can’t give you legal advice, such as “Should I ask for spousal support?”

Some states and their legal aid organizations offer interactive online interviews or questionnaires. These platforms ask you questions about your marriage and divorce terms and plug the answers into your forms.

Many states offer divorce forms online for download. Court and legal aid websites may also provide detailed instructions, video walkthroughs and interactive questionnaires to help you. Unfortunately, some states provide forms without instructions.

Other states provide limited forms. Hawai’i only supplies forms for uncontested divorces, and Texas limits self-help to divorces without children or real estate. If your state limits online divorce resources, you may need to rely on a commercial online divorce provider.

Legal aid organizations sponsor do-it-yourself platforms and packets. They also offer legal services if you qualify. If your income is well below the median income for your state, you may qualify for free legal services.

However, legal aid services can have strict standards. In some states, the demand for free legal services is so high that you could end up on a long waitlist before you can receive assistance.

Another option is moderate means programs. These programs offer reduced-cost legal services to people with low to middle incomes. You can find a moderate means program through your state’s bar association or court websites. LawHelp.org also offers assistance finding programs in your state or local area.

4. Hire a Document Preparer for a Cheap Divorce

If your online options are limited, you may wish to hire a certified legal document preparer (CLDP). Also called paralegal services, document preparers complete legal documents for people who do not have an attorney. Generally, they must undergo background checks, pass an exam and have two years of law-related experience before preparing documents.

Document preparers were more popular before the internet, but you can still find them by searching “cheap divorce near me” or similar terms.

Be aware that document preparers can’t give you legal advice. They may refer you to the relevant statute, so you can decide what to put in your divorce papers.

5. File a Cheap Divorce Online Using Commercial Services

If your state doesn’t offer free services, or you can’t find forms relevant to your situation, commercial online divorce services may be your solution

A cheap divorce online provider finishes your divorce documents through guided interviews. Before you start, these services usually start with three questions:

  • Do you know where to find your spouse?
  • Does your spouse agree with the divorce terms and will sign the papers with you?
  • Do you have any children under 18?

If you answer “no” to either of the first questions, you can’t file for divorce online through any service. That’s because online divorce is designed for couples who have already agreed to divorce and its terms. It does not handle high-conflict situations or marriages involving abuse, supervised parenting time or drug or alcohol addiction. Also, if a spouse abandons you and goes missing, the divorce process is complicated and may require attorney guidance.

Looking for Cheap Divorce Options?

It can be difficult to find the cheapest way to get a divorce. Here is one option that will help you get started.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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