What's the Cheapest Way to Get Divorced?
Ending a marriage is always a messy, complicated affair. The spouses have a lot of issues to go over that can further complicate their separation, such as custody over pets or children, ownership of the home, alimony, and so on. And on top of all that, divorce can get quite expensive. In fact, the average total cost of a divorce for a man was close to $13,000 in 2019, which is a hefty sum.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that so many people, men and women alike, are looking for a way to reduce their separation expenses. This article will go over some of the least expensive methods to get a divorce in early 2022. In addition, it will cover some of the potential hurdles that might come with the decision to separate using one of the methods listed below.
Inexpensive Divorce Options
Generally speaking, a typical divorce will include hiring a divorce attorney in York PA, going through lots of paperwork, and covering all of the expenses related to each individual case. Depending on how complex the divorce is, the spouse can be paying out of pocket for professional services during a period of several months. This is still the case despite the advantages to filing for divorce first.
However, there are legal and inexpensive alternatives, which include:
● Divorcing with legal aid or pro bono help
● Having minimal attorney involvement
● Divorce mediation
● Conducting the process online
● Spouses doing everything themselves
Let’s go over all of these options.
Legal Aid/Pro Bono Divorce
Sometimes, a relationship can get messy and even violent. Spousal and child abuse is a real issue, and anyone can be the perpetrator. So, if the husband is someone who qualifies for assistance in that regard, he can get in touch with his state’s legal aid service. They can provide him with free step-by-step instructions on moving forward with their case, free information, and all the necessary court forms. They can even help him with a lawyer who will take his case pro bono, i.e. free of charge.
Limited Attorney Representation
Generally speaking, the attorney that the spouses hire will charge them full-time. However, if they have an agreement about the individual divorce issues, they can only hire an attorney to go over the documents one last time before filing them.
In addition, each spouse can attain limited services from the lawyer during the drafting process itself. That way, the attorney only gets paid for the hours they put into the case. And paying for an hour or two of the lawyer’s time is definitely a better option than paying them full-time.
Divorce mediation may just be the best option for both spouses, especially if they hadn’t reached an agreement on certain points of the divorce. Instead of hiring individual attorneys and taking everything to court, the husband and wife can request services from a neutral third party that will go over their documents in detail. This third party, i.e. the mediator, will put all of the spouses’ agreements on paper. The paper can then be submitted to a judge for approval.
Online Divorce Services
If a couple agrees on most things regarding their divorce, they will need to file all of the paperwork themselves. Luckily, there are various online services that can help them for a specific fee. Generally speaking, the fee can range between $150 and $900. This price will depend on the couple’s specific circumstances, what the online company offers, what the state legally allows, and any extra service the spouses might choose. Some companies also offer online consultation for an extra fee, as well as contact info of local affiliate attorneys and legal counselors.
A DIY Divorce
This option is by far the most hands-on for any spouse. However, it’s also not particularly easy, since the spouse will have to do most of the legwork.
First and foremost, if the husband and wife have an uncontested divorce, i.e. they agree on every single point of separation, they will need to file the proper paperwork. They can find most of those forms online, in local court websites’ registries. However, if there aren’t any available online, a spouse can visit the local court clerk’s office and ask for all the necessary forms. Some court clerks will require a form for a settlement agreement. People can find samples of such forms online or from legal experts who offer services in drafting these forms.
The rest of the procedure is pretty basic:
The spouse takes the original paperwork, plus two copies, to the courthouse (or sends electronic versions, depending on the state and the court)
Next, they pay a filing fee
The spouse then has the paperwork sent to their partner via a service of process
The other spouse files a response (or a complaint, depending on the contents of the paperwork)
In case of receiving state assistance (disability, food stamps, medical insurance, etc.), a spouse can request a fee waiver
The divorce process proceeds in court
Potential Cheap Divorce Setbacks
Of course, most of the methods listed above have limited to no expert involvement, so spouses can run into problems. Some of the most common ones include:
● Failing to meet all of the court procedures
● Trying to handle a complex situation with a simple solution (for example, property division or child custody)
● Negotiating setbacks (if each spouse represents themselves, there’s a chance they can present their case poorly)
● Choosing the wrong service or mediator