How Can I Get An Online Divorce?
By Abigail Boyd
Updated November 22, 2019
Reviewer Lisa Cooper
While divorces happen frequently and are expected to be emotionally taxing for both of the individuals in the marriage, the reality is that some divorces are costly and time-consuming as well. You may even be hesitant to proceed with filing for divorce because you've heard how difficult it can sometimes be. Reaching the point where you and your spouse no longer want to continue with the relationship can be emotionally draining enough. You probably just want it all to be over with so you can move on.
Fortunately, you may be able to file online for a divorce, which can be a cheaper and faster alternative for couples who do not have the means or the time necessary to go through an expensive and lengthy divorce process. Getting a divorce online, as long as you follow the correct process, is legal, legitimate, and affordable. However, it can be confusing as to whether or not your divorce qualifies for an online dissolution and how you go about filing for an online divorce. If you're interested in an online divorce, here is a short guide to what an online divorce is and how you can get one.
What Is An Online Divorce?
Divorces used to be much more difficult and complex to acquire. However, due to an increased need for divorces as well as the migration of the courts to online services, online divorces have become a reality. Many people wonder if online divorces are legal. While the number of states that have dedicated tools for divorce is limited, every state recognizes an online divorce as a legal one as long as you go through the proper channels. Depending on the requirements of the state you live in, you may never need to leave your home to complete the divorce.
Online divorce is the same as a regular divorce in many instances. The only difference between the two is that all of the divorce paperwork is filed online, and there is no need to visit a court of law to become legally separated from your spouse. With online divorces, you will typically hire a company who will handle the paperwork process for you or you will e-file using your state's website. Either way, both of these processes are very simple and are often cheaper and faster than filing a divorce in person.
How Do I Get An Online Divorce In My State?
At the moment, all states in the US accept online divorces. However, not all states have the same guidelines regarding the online divorce process, and your state may not offer the services that you want. For example, some states will allow citizens of over three months to get a no-fault divorce, while other states require couples to be citizens for over a year and only handle fault divorces.
One great resource that you can use to see if you qualify for the online divorce process in your state is the MyDivorcePapers website, which lists all of the state requirements and the divorce types that they support online. If you do not meet the requirements of the state, you will either have to wait until you do or you will have to file for divorce another way. Other sites, like Wevorce, can also walk you through each step.
How Does The Process Work?
Let's first review the state of your current marriage. When you and your spouse discussed divorce, were there any issues? Is one of you seeking to take property or money and the other one is fighting against it? Do you have children that you do not want to split? If so, an online divorce process may not be the best route to go. Divorces in which spouses are fighting over property or custody over children will require a trial and filing online will only delay the divorce.
Only divorces in which spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, which is known as an uncontested divorce, will work with online divorce processes. If you and your spouse agree on each of the terms of the divorce, you can proceed with the process in a relatively straightforward way.
To get an online divorce, you generally need to choose one of the online divorce services like those listed above. You'll need to have all of your basic information available, as well as a valid payment method that you can use to get started.
Does an Online Divorce Require an Attorney?
A significant cause of expense in a contested divorce that goes to court is the legal representation both parties will require. With an online divorce, an attorney is not required, greatly reducing the cost of the overall divorce. With an uncontested online divorce where both parties agree to the terms, the process mostly involves paperwork and certain forms.
Cost Of An Online Divorce
Every divorce is different and will involve varying levels of documentation. Typically, however, the charges for an online divorce range from $300-500. The cost varies from state to state and depends on the complexity of the forms your divorce requires. For comparison, the average cost of a court divorce in the US is $15,000 per person.
If you have an uncontested divorce, here is how you can begin the online divorce process:
1. Check Your State's Website And Decide On The Ideal E-Filing Method
To begin the online divorce process, you must first check your state's website and make sure that you and your spouse meet all the requirements needed to file successfully. Once you've verified that you meet these requirements, you will need to decide on the method that you will use to file. Would you rather file all of your paperwork on your own or would you rather have a company handle it? Decide on your ideal method and then prepare to take that route.
If you choose to have a company file for you, you will give them the information that they need and let them do the rest of the work. If you choose to file by yourself, you will have to prepare all the necessary documentation, make copies, and send it in on your own. Keep both of these things in mind before you decide on a filing method.
2. Gather All Of Your Information
It is vital that you have all of the necessary files and information ready for the online divorce process before you begin filing. Otherwise, you may have to resubmit forms and wait longer to have your divorce finalized. What information and forms will you need? The forms that you will need can usually be found on your state's website. Make sure that you have other documentation as well, such as marriage certificates and social security cards. These will be necessary for the divorce process to help identify you and your spouse.
3. Have The Divorce Papers Served To Your Spouse
In some cases, you will need to have papers served to your spouse after you have submitted your forms. If this is required of you in your state, make sure that you have it done immediately after you've filed to avoid prolonging the divorce process. Keep in mind that you can't do this on your own, and you will require the assistance of someone else. You can learn more about how to properly serve divorce papers here. You will need to make sure all of the information is presented and accurate, including you and your spouse's birthdates, the date of your marriage, and your social security numbers.
4. Begin Drawing Up A Divorce Agreement
This is one of the most important steps, but it should also be one of the easiest if you have an uncontested divorce. It is recommended that you draw up the divorce agreement with an attorney to prevent the possibility that you will need to contest anything about the divorce in court at a later date. During this process, ask for what you want but also try to be reasonable. Asking for more than you need or denying your spouse access to something will create an unnecessary conflict that will erase the benefits of online divorce.
5. Finish Filing And Send In Any Additional Documentation
At this point, almost everything required for the divorce process should be finished, and all you will need to do is send any other information needed by the court to finalize the divorce. If you're unsure about what other information or documentation you will need, consult your state's website or ask your attorney if you have one. Every state will have its specific requirements. Lacking the proper documentation can slow down the process unnecessarily.
File The Paperwork
Once you have all of the required paperwork and documentation, the next step is to file the paperwork. Depending on the service that you use, this should be a fairly straightforward process. You can contact your local county clerk's office if you have any issues in filing.
Choosing to proceed with your divorce using online methods is a more affordable, faster alternative to a traditional court divorce. By allowing the process to go quickly and smoothly, you and your former partner can both move on with your lives.
While this article does focus on the benefits of getting an online divorce, the divorce process can be hard to deal with emotionally, and you may need help along the way. If you can relate to the statement above and you do not know where to turn, we recommend that you visit https://www.regain.us/start/. ReGain is an online counseling platform for those who need relationship counseling and advice. By clicking on the link above, you will be brought to a page that will help you connect with a relationship counselor that is best for you.