If you spend a lot of your time perusing the internet, you will find no shortage of information on divorce. In fact, typing the word “divorce” into Google brings up some 375,000,000 results. You could spend hours researching why divorce happens, how to get an annulment, and what you can do to save your marriage.
But one thing that most couples already know without doing any research is that divorce can be costly. According to a recent survey done in April 2020, the average cost of divorce is $15,000 per person. This includes lawyers’ fees, court costs, real estate appraisers, and so on. But in many cases, the cost of an annulment can be even higher.
This brings us to a question that many couples ask, and that’s how to get a low-cost divorce?
There are a few ways in which you can lower the cost of your annulment; with the right amount of research, patience, and calm, you can save yourself a small fortune in divorce fees.
What are the various ways in which you can get a low-cost divorce?
Get an uncontested divorce and work together
Working together might seem a bit ridiculous, especially if you argue as a couple, but the less you fight, the more money you will save.
When it comes to filing for a divorce, it doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the easiest ways to save money on your annulment is by seeking an uncontested divorce. Why is this? When it comes to an uncontested dissolution of your marriage, you and your spouse might not even need to use a lawyer. You will have options like DIY divorce or even be able to use online divorce services. These are both inexpensive options when it comes to ending your marriage.
Lawyers are necessary in contested divorce cases because of the complexities of the spouses’ arguments and what can be at stake if things don’t go in your favor. There might be lengthy court battles with regards to child custody, or if a business is involved, you might need an attorney who specializes in business law to help you.
When lawyers are needed in these complicated cases, your divorce cost will be much higher, unfortunately. So remember that sorting out issues the right way could save you a lot of frustration later on. Try your best to work together to come to an amicable agreement that works for both of you. It will save you money and, as mentioned above, open up cheaper ways to get an annulment.
Get a divorce without a lawyer
As mentioned above, with an uncontested annulment, you might not even need to use a lawyer. Lawyers charge, on average, $250 an hour. This can add up to an exorbitant amount of money over time, which in turn could ruin you financially. If you can, skip the lawyers.
Divorce without a lawyer is legal in America, and the legal term for this process is “pro se legal representation,” which means that you will be representing yourself. It is usually called a “Do it yourself” divorce.
A DIY divorce can be cheaper, but it can also be frustrating. You will need a lot of time to manage your divorce papers. You will need to find the correct documents, write up agreements, and communicate regularly with your spouse to discuss the terms of your dissolution.
This means that you will need to be an efficient and well-organized person. A DIY divorce is best for couples who have no children and have been married for a relatively short time. You can still get a DIY divorce even if you have children, but it’s not always advisable. It might be a better idea to consider online divorce, e-filing, mediation, and limited-scope legal assistance.
Online divorce companies will save you money
One of the easiest and cost-effective ways to get a low-cost divorce is by using an online company that deals with marriage dissolutions. There are many companies out there, and most of them are incredibly affordable. An online divorce service prepares divorce papers for you, ready to sign and 100% legal and correct. In most cases, as soon as you pay for your package, you will receive your documentation within 48 hours. So not only is the service affordable, but it is fast.
They also help you with any questions that you might have concerning your divorce.
Unfortunately, not all of them offer legal advice, but they can help you with what information you need and how to correctly file your documentation.
The cost of online divorce starts from as little as $139 and can go as high as $5,000, depending on the service and package you choose. In some cases, you will need to pay a court filing fee on top of your divorce package. Other companies include court fees in the cost of service.
Carefully read and understand what is included with the online divorce service. It will help you to budget and plan for extra unforeseen expenses.
E-filing for a divorce
E-filing for divorce is not available in every county, so if you decide to go this route, you will need to check if your county has this option.
What is e-filing? This is when the petitioner creates a petition for the divorce. The petition needs to be read and signed. You will then save the documents as a PDF and choose an e-filing provider to submit the court documents.
Many state websites offer a list of providers for your convenience. You will then log into the provider’s site and fill in the required information. You can then download your divorce petition and pay a commission fee.
Once you have completed this step, you will receive a copy of your divorce petition, which will be stamped by the court via email. Most states require that you serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce papers once this has been done.
Ask for a waiver fee
Your local clerk’s office can arrange a waiver fee, but you will need to prove that you have no money or that you are in major financial distress before you are allowed to have your court fees waived.
To qualify for court waiver fees, you will need to prove the following:
- You can’t support your family’s basic needs and pay for the waiver fees;
- You are receiving public benefits;
- Your household income before taxes is less than the amounts listed on the forms.
California offers fee waivers for couples who can’t afford to pay for their court filing costs.
To read more about divorce waiver fees, please click here.
Mediation is affordable in comparison to going to trial
If you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms of your annulment, consider mediation before proceeding with a contested divorce. According to Ogborne Law, mediation costs $1000 on average.
Mediation is a process in which you and your spouse meet in the presence of a mediator (who is a neutral third party) to reach a compromise on any issues that are yet unresolved.
Mediation comes in handy, especially when children are involved. By avoiding a trial entirely, you will save money in the long run. Most couples agree within a few days at most. And since you know what you agree to, you avoid any unpleasant surprises which can result when a court decides for you. When the court determines your case’s outcome, neither party usually ends up satisfied with the results.
You don’t need to use a lawyer for your entire case
Another way to get a low-cost divorce is to only use a lawyer for certain parts of your case. For example, you could get all your divorce papers yourself but then have a lawyer look through your documents to ensure that everything has been done correctly.
They might also be able to advise you on what to change in your agreement. This might be a smart choice because whatever you sign now can affect you for the rest of your life.
Divorce is tough. It can be emotionally damaging in many cases, but it doesn’t have to be financially devastating. By applying the above points, you can be sure to get a low-cost divorce in no time at all.