How to Get a Low-Cost Divorce: The Definitive Guide (2019)

How to Get a Low-Cost Divorce: The Definitive Guide (2019)

Learn how to arrange a cheap and quick divorce, free of regrets

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How to Have a Good Divorce: Tips to Help You Through the Process

How to Have a Good Divorce: Tips to Help You Through the Process

As you navigate the process, the following suggestions may assist you in making it a bit more graceful.

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information your divorce attorney will need

Personal, Property, and Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

information your divorce attorney will need

 

A lot goes into choosing a divorce attorney. I always suggest three attorneys be interviewed before deciding which to hire. During the interview process, you can learn about the attorney’s experience, their fees and get a feel for whether or not you feel the two of you could have a good working relationship.

Once you’ve made your decision, the new attorney will need information from you in order to get the ball rolling and the divorce process started. Some information is basic, will require no work from you. Other information will require time and energy and it is always best to be prepared. So, before you even start the interview process, why not get ahead of the game by gathering as much information as possible so that when it comes time to answer questions your new divorce attorney has, you will be prepared.

Below is a list of common questions/information your divorce attorney will need.

You will find this list helpful when compiling documents and materials your attorney will expect from you.

Personal Information:

  • Your full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and email address.
  • Proof of state of residency.
  • Your employer’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Your length of employment and your monthly or annual salary. You should be prepared to show your attorney at least three years in income tax returns.
  • Your spouse’s full name, date of birth and social security number.
  • Contact information for your spouse such as an address, landline/cell phone number, and an email address.
  • Your spouse’s employer information, address, and phone number.
  • Your spouse’s length of employment and salary.
  • If the attorney will be serving your spouse with divorce paperwork they will need to know where you want this to take place. At your spouse’s work or place of residence?
  • The date and place you were married.
  • The name of your spouse’s attorney if he/she has one.
  • The name of a marital therapist you and your spouse visited with times and dates.
  • A list of the marital problems that led to divorce if any involve alcohol or drug abuse, religious differences, infidelity or sexual incompatibility.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children born during the marriage.
  • Which parent the children now reside with and whether or not a custody dispute will be part of the divorce process.
  • The full names, dates of birth and social security numbers of any children from a previous marriage.
  • If you pay child support, how much you pay. If you receive child support, how much you receive.
  • Whether or not your spouse has children from a previous marriage. If so, how much child support is paid or received.
  • Who provides health insurance for the children born of this marriage?

Property Information:

  • Addresses of property owned jointly or separately.
  • Addresses of any mortgage companies you have accounts with.
  • The estimated fair market value of homes owned.
  • The balance on any mortgages.
  • The amount of monthly payments to a mortgage company.
  • A list of all automobiles, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes owned jointly or separately.
  • The year, make and model of each and who has possession.
  • The name and address of any lender who may hold the title to autos, boats, motorcycles, trailers or airplanes.

Financial Information:

  • A list of all joint and separate bank accounts, savings accounts, C.D.’s, Credit Union accounts, Savings Bonds and Stocks and Mutual Funds.
  • How many debit cards you have for each account and the names on those cards.
  • A list of any credit card accounts you hold jointly or separately. The names on the accounts and the balance due.
  • Information about retirement accounts, 401K’s and other investment type accounts.
  • Disclosure of any life insurance policies, whose life is insured and for how much.
  • A list of names of those who owe you money. How much they owe and the expected payment date.
  • A list of any lawsuits you may be involved in.
  • A list of any livestock, such as cattle or horses that you may own.

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5 Things You Might Not Know about Divorce

5 Things You Might Not Know about Divorce

You don’t need an attorney to get one. Prenups aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, and there is no such thing as a “quicky divorce.”

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diy divorce or divorce online

DIY Divorce Or Divorce Online: What You Need To Know

diy divorce or divorce online

 

Divorce always involves a new stage of life. For some, it can mean a release, the logical outcome of a distressing situation, and therefore, a desirable life change, while for others – the collapse of dreams, and complete frustration and confusion. Divorce is daunting whether you hire an attorney or go the DIY divorce or online divorce route.

Once a couple decides to divorce the divorce process begins, and it entails contact with bureaucracy, paperwork, court visits, a host of trivial, mundane but urgent things which require clear thinking and taking active steps.

All that you can do is ease the divorce process itself as much as possible and minimize the negative effects. And the good news is that we can help you sort out exactly how to get this done.

What You Need to Know About DIY Divorce or Online Divorce

Two Types of Divorce

There are two main ways of terminating a legal marriage union:

A contested divorce is traditionally a lengthy process, and is often associated with the cinematic conception of the word “divorce.” It usually assumes several trials, heated debate between the spouses and their lawyers in court, mutual blaming and huge expenses.

A contested divorce takes place when the spouses need to divide their joint property or resolve the issue of child custody, and each party has their own opinion of how to do it, with no desire to compromise.

An uncontested divorce is a more in vogue way of getting a divorce. A vast majority of American couples are opting for uncontested divorces as an affordable and rather quick method of dissolution.

An uncontested divorce implies that the spouses have reached an agreement regarding all the most controversial problems of their divorce. In most cases, it means that they write a settlement agreement – an official document that outlines all the joint solutions regarding child custody and visitation time, property division, spousal support if any is needed, and other topics.

Moreover, sometimes, when neither of the parties asks the court to address some significant issues, they can even do without this agreement, and a divorce can be granted by default. In general, only a final hearing is required. However, some states allow simplified uncontested divorces with no trials at all.

Divorce without a lawyer

This concept is called a do-it-yourself divorce and is quite popular now as well. The primary principle of DIY divorce is that both spouses must get ready to cooperate and solve problems jointly. Their intention to make the divorce process less stressful and expensive must be mutual, and they must communicate honestly and directly. Each party must understand their responsibilities, since without an attorney divorce hinges on them and them only.

Therefore, a couple should consider their particular situation, and not rush in blindly. For example, depending on how complicated it is to make the settlement agreement independently (especially when the parties are parents of underage kids), the spouses should remember they may resort to the help of specialists for a particular part of the job.

They can hire a lawyer to make a valid settlement agreement or use divorce mediation or counseling. Divorce mediation is a non-competitive alternative to litigation, which is perfect for spouses who are ready for dialog but are finding it difficult to settle all the differences successfully.

The mediation process requires the spouses to negotiate under the guidance of an experienced professional; they do not fight but rather discuss all the problems constructively, encouraged by the common goal of making a mutually beneficial agreement and getting a divorce as quick as possible.

Once the settlement agreement issue is decided, we are dealing with a simple uncontested divorce, and it becomes easier to continue the process without legal representation.

If you haven’t already, you should familiarize yourself with the family law of your state, as well as filing regulations. Different states have different specifications for how a divorce must occur. However, in all cases, the core of a simple uncontested divorce is paperwork.

Dealing with divorce paperwork

In general, every divorce starts with the filing of a divorce petition. Despite the fact that different states, as well as different counties within a state, may require different divorce forms, there is a basic set of the papers which are necessary.

Regardless of their title in your jurisdiction, these papers are designed to:

  • Start a divorce (Petition for divorce, Petition for dissolution of the marriage, Complaint about divorce);
  • Officially notify the other spouse (defendant, respondent) about the case (in some states, where the procedure of simplified divorce is recognized and the spouses file the petition jointly, they can skip this step. In other states, a copy of the petition must be delivered to the defendant even if he or she knows about the lawsuit and agrees to divorce);
  • Provide the court the needed personal data about both parties (which is usually used for statistics);
  • Waive the hearing (if you do not want to contest the case, you must officially refuse litigation);
  • Finalize the divorce (Final divorce order, Divorce Decree).

Along with that, numerous other divorce forms and papers are required depending on your location and personal situation.

So, how does one get the correct divorce papers if you wish to divorce without an attorney?

And is it possible to do this without setting foot in the clerk’s office, wasting your precious time?

Free divorce papers from the court site

First and foremost, to get relevant information concerning the needed forms you may check your county court’s website or the website of the judiciary branch of the state. They usually provide a list of documents for different scenarios, like “contested/uncontested divorce with children,” “contested/uncontested divorce without children,” “simplified dissolution,” and so on.

Some government sites allow you to download these printable forms, so you can start filling out your forms immediately. Sounds pretty convenient, but it’s not that simple in actuality.

This way of getting divorce forms is attractive due to its affordability; however, you should be absolutely certain that you have picked the proper forms. They can be pretty tricky, so if the site does not provide a comprehensive step-by-step guide through the dissolution process, you may easily miss some of them.

And if you have to start all over again, having found a mistake too late, in court, you will probably waste a lot of time. The same applies to filling out divorce forms. It is not as easy as it seems since there are a lot of paperwork subtleties which can be challenging for those who have not faced court proceedings and strict legal regulations before.

You should fairly assess your capacity in advance. Remember that the forms provided by the state court website might be unsuitable for a particular county. Additionally, information provided by the state is relevant but incomplete. It should be viewed as a brief description, which is of a purely introductory nature.

Online divorce services

Another way to get divorce papers online is to use the assistance of an online divorce service.

These are companies which are not legal firms, meaning they do not provide legal advice or assistance in the court but help with the paperwork. Online divorce is an excellent alternative for couples who want to arrange an uncontested divorce without a lawyer but are not willing or able to handle all the boring and complicated prep work.

Roughly speaking, though these companies do not help deal with the divorce process itself, they let you avoid red tape and ease your further steps in court. In the case of uncontested divorce, good preparation is half the battle.

The operational principle of these services usually begins with the customer logging in to the online divorce website and answering questions concerning the conditions of their dissolution case. The customer’s answers allow the system to form a general vision of the divorce in question, with which it adapts the divorce forms to the relevant state and county laws and rules and gathers the full required paperwork kit.

All the essential details of the case are taken into account, so even the rarest of divorce forms are not forgotten if they are needed. Typically, divorcing spouses favor online divorce companies due to the speed of service. The client may receive a completed, ready-to-be-signed paperwork package in PDF format online within a couple of days (usually between one and three business days), which is to be printed and submitted to the court at a convenient time.

Unlike court sites, online divorce services are not free. Nevertheless, as the cost of online divorce services is significantly less than attorney fees for the same uncontested cases, people find the price of around $120-400 fair.

They don’t have to worry about whether the forms were correctly selected, whether they were filled out correctly, whether they will be accepted by the court, and so on. During a divorce, there are plenty of stressful situations and things requiring time already, so it’s no surprise that online divorce has become a real godsend for plenty of couples.

Choosing the right online divorce service from numerous similar platforms is essential. In the wake of this service’s popularity boom, a lot of fly-by-night companies have appeared, so you should carefully read customer reviews and the websites themselves.

Some online divorce companies, eager to prove their reliability, offer refunds in the event that the court does not accept the paperwork.

Regardless, it is up to you to decide, but you should be responsible and feel positive about the options. As you see, getting affordable divorce papers online is not only possible but also very easy, and remember – this is a great start and a key part of your no-hassle divorce.

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The Hidden Costs of Divorce

The Hidden Costs of Divorce

The hidden costs of divorce can be overwhelming when paired with the already expensive standard costs. Read on to learn about the fees you’ll have to pay.

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who will pay attorney

Who Will Pay Attorney’s Fees During Your Divorce?

who will pay attorney's fees during your divorce

 

The attorney’s fees in a divorce case can be paid in several different manners depending on all the circumstances in the case and trial. Learn the different manners of paying attorney fees for two spouses in a divorce.

Who Will Pay Attorney’s Fees During Your Divorce?

Can I Get My Ex to Pay My Legal Fees?

A contested divorce can escalate in costs rapidly to tens of thousands of dollars although a simple uncontested divorce may cost less than $1,000. Expenses can add up quickly when you have a contested divorce that requires many court appearances by your attorney and hours of preparation for the hearings.

Real estate appraisers and forensic accountants are additional costs in a divorce. A divorce judge will award your spouse with a portion or all of your attorney’s fees in some distinct cases. It is at the discretion of the court as to the amount and the court is considered to be an expert on all attorney’s fees.

A Level Playing Field

In most states, spouses are responsible for paying their own legal fees and costs incurred in a divorce proceeding. However, several exceptions can exist, especially when one spouse earns a considerably higher amount of wages than the other does.

It would be unfair for the higher paid spouse to pay a top-notch attorney and leave the other spouse without an attorney because they can’t afford one. At times, the state may order the wealthier spouse to pay all attorney fees and court costs of their spouse.

A judge can order the spouses to liquidate some of their marital assets so that your legal fees can be paid. Generally, this works by the court deducting what you received to pay your attorney from your share of the liquidated asset at the finalization of the divorce. Your lawyer was hired by you and worked for you to protect your best interests and therefore should be your costs.

Some Fault Based Issues

Judges generally do not order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s legal fees due to marital misconduct, which led to the divorce. For example, if your spouse commits adultery and the grounds upon which you file for divorce, your judge most likely won’t order your spouse to pay your legal fees as a punishment for their misbehavior. Now if your spouse was inflicting spousal abuse on you several times during the marriage and there is evidence of this fact, the court may tell your spouse to pay all your legal fees and costs.

If your spouse is dragging out the litigation process by filing motions that are unnecessary or if they are refusing to cooperate, then some courts will order them to pay your legal fees as a form of compensation for their actions during the case. It’s not usually the entire amount you owe for your divorce, but he may have to pay for the court costs for additional appearances that were brought about because of his bad behavior.

A Few More Options

You need to clear some other options with your attorney before you act on them. You may be able to cash in a retirement account, but if you contributed to the account during your marriage, it is most probably considered marital property, making it a shared asset between you and your spouse.

Ask your attorney also before liquidating any assets. If the court finds that it’s okay to do so and generate money for your fees and costs in the divorce, your spouse will likely put up a big fuss, but the court has the option to do so and then deduct the money from your share of marital property upon finalization of the divorce decree. You may also consider borrowing money from a family member, taking out a loan in your name solely and paying the loans back after the divorce.

Professional Funding May Be a Choice

If there is no way possible that you can pay your attorney’s fees and legal costs associated with your divorce, you can ask your divorce attorney about any private investors who may be willing to fund your divorce in exchange for a portion of the assets you will receive when the decree is finalized.

Some attorneys may occasionally be willing to take their fees after the case is over and after you get your share of assets—but this is definitely not the norm. You can also ask your lawyer about a payment plan for his fees on a monthly basis, but you will still need to pay the experts’ fees that are necessary to prepare your case for you.

All awards for attorney fees are final judgments from the court and being such, all are appealable. If you believe the awarded fees are too high or unjust, either party may appeal the judgment.

The court system wants to award attorney fees in the proper manner without bias to any person. Their job is to make the right choice that is not too little, not too much or simply unjust to either party. That being said, the awards are highly discretionary and the case law gives no exact lines to follow.

You should be able to be armed with the knowledge you need when getting a divorce about attorney’s fees, legal fees and court costs and who should pay them. Do keep in mind that you have a few alternatives to consider.

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What is The Cost of Divorce in Ontario?

What is The Cost of Divorce in Ontario?

The cost of divorce in Ontario can be cheap or really expensive, depending on how complicated your case is. Here is a rough breakdown of the expenses.

The post What is The Cost of Divorce in Ontario? appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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12 Survival Tips to Help You Survive Divorcing a Narcissist

12 Survival Tips to Help You Survive Divorcing a Narcissist

It WON’T be easy, but it WILL be worth it.

The post 12 Survival Tips to Help You Survive Divorcing a Narcissist appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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reduce costs during divorce

Ways To Reduce Costs During Divorce

reduce costs during divorce

 

If you thought the wedding was costly just wait until the divorce! Though the cost of a divorce can widely range, the average cost is anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000. There is also a huge emotional cost to bear on yourself and your family.

Luckily there are some steps you can take to ease the process on yourself and on your wallet and reduce costs during divorce.

Do your own research, use a lawyer only when necessary

The first step is to do your own thorough research. There are many free resources out there that can give you an edge in your case. For instance, you can find your state’s laws on divorce and understand procedures that must be followed. Know what will be in store for you during the divorce process so you can prepare.

This new found knowledge will not only help you communicate better with your lawyer but also with your spouse when negotiating. It will also help you to better budget when you know what costs you are about to incur.

Though hiring a lawyer may be smart in most cases keep your use of them to a minimum. Lawyers can quickly become expensive especially if you have hired one who works on an hourly wage versus a retainer. Your lawyer may seem like the perfect to person to vent to about your marital issues and while they may offer you some real advice it will certainly not be for free. Additionally, if you have a simple question that can be found online do not waste your time or money seeking this answer from your lawyer.

Be open-minded and do not let your emotions steer you

Of course, going into the divorce process you will have some ideas of what you want and what you think you deserve. But you should not by any means refuse to budge on these concepts. Your spouse is going to go into the process with certain demands as well but you will not be able to achieve anything if you are not willing to compromise. This will also help you save money by shortening the amount of time it will take to sort your issues out.

Furthermore, divorces are a particularly personal subject which means it will be an emotional one. Whether it is only property that needs to be decided or there are children in the mix it will be hard to take an objective perspective on the process. However, the less you let your emotions influence you the easier the process will be in the long run.

Maintain an amicable or working relationship with your ex

This can help significantly with your divorce though it is not always possible in reality. Part of this falls under the same category of relying less on your lawyer. The more details you and your spouse can work out privately the less time you will have to spend going through the same issues with lawyers. Just be sure that you both agree on the issues so there is no misunderstanding later on.

Moreover, divorces are never exactly fair but having an amicable relationship with your ex can help ensure that it is as close as possible. Though your marriage may have not worked it does not mean that the end has to result in catastrophe. It can also help to ease the pressure on children and other family members when going through this difficult time.

Uncontested divorces will save you a large chunk of money in the long run. Additionally, if you and your spouse are open to it, you can explore the possibility of a collaborative divorce which will involve group meetings rather than having adversarial lawyers. This is a great option if it is only the bigger issues you and your spouse are having trouble deciding. All of these routes will save you precious time and money.

Know your finances

If your husband has largely handled most of the money during your marriage it is time to become educated about your finances including your assets and debts. Try to keep track of important records such as tax returns or insurance policies. Otherwise obtaining duplicates may cost you. It will also save you from having to pay your lawyer to spend his or her time finding these types of documents.

If the case proceeds to court it is very important to know your income and report it accurately otherwise you will cost yourself more in the end. If the truth is withheld in court the judge can impose large fines or penalties.

You should also keep track of your finances regarding your lawyer. You should know what each item on your invoice is for and why you are paying for it. Make sure that the bill matches what you have previously agreed upon and that you are not being cheated. While sometimes it can be a simple clerical error it can save you hundreds. Your attorney may charge less for an email versus a phone call so make sure you are clear on this before you choose which you will pursue.

Keep litigation as a last-ditch effort

Lastly, avoid litigating your divorce at all costs. Litigating can be very expensive especially compared to the other options outlined and it may not give you the verdict you desire. Taking your divorce to court will cause the process to be significantly lengthened thus costing you more money in the end.

Other than being lengthy, court can be a very public option exposing you and your family to unwanted attention. It is important to note that litigation should only be used when all else fails because when the case is decided in court it is final. What the judge says goes and you no longer have a say in your personal affairs.

Overall, you should be well educated about the divorce process before you choose a lawyer or your method to resolve your marital issues. Having prior knowledge is the best way to save your time, money and emotional state. Best of luck.

 

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