A Cheap Online Divorce: Easy Fix or Dangerous Pick?

An cheap online divorce may lead to an unfavorable outcome.

An cheap online divorce may lead to an unfavorable outcome.

by: Julia Rodgers

Most of us are willing and excited to spend thousands of dollars, and months of preparation on a wedding. We devote hours upon hours to scrupulous planning in anticipation of the "big day." Quite the opposite happens when we get divorced; one of the first things we ask is:  How much is this going to cost me? How quickly can we get this over with? Divorce is notorious for being a emotionally traumatic and costly experience. It is understandable that anyone considering divorce would want to get it over with in the most expeditious inexpensive manner.

A Google search for the term “divorce” yields many "file and done" websites promising a speedy and cheap divorce, oftentimes for under $300.  Does this sound too good to be true? For most people, it is. Here are some reasons why:

Why Pay for Free Forms?

Quick, do-it-yourself online divorce services will not provide you with legal advice, and any information you do receive cannot be verified as accurate in the state where you are filing or relevant to your individual situation.

When considering the ‘quick and cheap' divorce route, it is important to keep in mind that many of these websites provide simple form preparation online. Most of these same forms are available at your local court for free (and many are also available for download from the Court website... for FREE).  

Details, Details. 

A typical divorce can be likened to a three dimensional chess game, and is compounded in complexity if you or your spouse have unrealistic perceptions of how the divorce will resolve. Lawyers often warn divorcing spouses that such low cost divorce websites often lead to unexpected or undesirable results, which can be difficult and expensive to fix.

Divorces involving children should not be handled by any type of online divorce, because these cases are more complex than you might initially anticipate. Child support or custody issues must be properly analyzed before legally binding decisions are made on how to divide or calculate child support or custody. It is important that you and your spouse truly understand the present and future ramifications of your divorce agreement, before you sign it! As the old adage goes, "the devil is in the details.

So, What if You Completely Agree on Everything?

Well, if you agree on everything, it must be simple to get a quick divorce, right? The answer is, sometimes. You and your spouse must be in complete agreement in order to file the forms needed to finalize your divorce. This means, you both must be able to communicate successfully and must agree on who will get what property, and how your finances will be split.

On the surface, this may seem simple. In some cases, it may really be that simple. But, in the vast majority of cases, divorcing spouses have lost the historical trust they once had with each other, making the negotiation process difficult. As you may be able to guess, a fast, online divorce can become a dangerous game, with your future as the pawn. As another old adage goes, “you get what you pay for.

A few Alternatives, please.

What alternatives exist if you do not have thousands of dollars to spend on a divorce?

Mediation may be a good place to start. A competent and experienced mediator can help you and your spouse better communicate,  so you can come to a conclusion regarding important issues, like division of assets, child related issues, etc. Divorce Mediation can be a practical and affordable  method if you do not want to retain an attorney, and are willing to work on your issues in a calm setting. Mediation is a cost effective, efficient choice that will only work if you and your spouse  are willing to cooperate, and work towards a solution that you will both be satisfied with.

Julia Rodgers, Mavrides Law

Julia Rodgers, Mavrides Law

To speak with a lawyer about a divorce or other family law matter, contact Mavrides Law in Boston or Quincy, Massachusetts. To schedule an initial consultation, call 617-723-9900 or contact the firm by email (info@MavridesLaw.com)

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