Is It Possible To Get Free Divorce Papers?
Updated July 13, 2019
Divorce is costly. It costs money to hire an attorney, a person who will give you a better chance at reaching a compromise satisfying to you. It costs your family. Your children will feel left out, no matter what the verdict will be. It costs your sanity. It's a stressful situation that no one likes, and yet many have to do as a last resort. And then it costs money to get the papers to begin with, and that's no good. In this article, we'll cover divorce papers and tell you if you can get them for free.
The Divorce Papers
When it comes to divorce papers, they're the petition that you serve to the person you are requesting the divorce from. The petition has the information about your failed marriage, and it may have the requests for how the property will be distributed.
There are many types of divorce papers out there. Depending on your state or county, they may require different forms, and it's best to know what you need before you file. A few papers that may be required in addition to the petition include:
Summons: You send this to your spouse, and they can respond to it if needed. It is usually handed to your spouse by a government official such as an officer.
Financial Affidavit: When trying to figure out who gets alimony or who gets the property, the financial affidavit is a big influence. It tells how much money each party has. Make sure you disclose your financial situation honestly.
Notice: The court will give you the date of your hearing, and will mail it through a notice. They usually do it a month in advance, but that can vary.
Settlement: The settlement agreement is when you reach a compromise on what you want when it comes to property distribution or other matters, such as child custody. Once you reach everything, fill out this form and submit it!
Decree: Once both parties reach a compromise, the judge will sign the decree, and the divorce will be finalized.
Getting Free Papers
When you want to get a divorce, you can be able to get your papers through different means. The cheapest way is to do it online. Unless you don't have internet, it can be free. While you still need to submit it to the court, the internet has made it easier to obtain the papers.
The state website should have the paperwork for you. Just look up your county and search through the website. Make sure you read the requirements carefully, so you have all the proper forms needed. While it's mostly easy, in some jurisdictions, it's a bit confusing, and many people hire preparers to make sure the papers are in order.
You can file online if the divorce is uncontested. In case if you didn't know, that's when you and your spouse agree on most of the divisions. If you don't agree with everything, renegotiate until you do. The last thing you want is to reach for an attorney and duke it out in court. Decide who gets custody of your child, and who can visit. Decide if there is any alimony charges or child support that need to be paid. Decide who gets the house, and who gets the debts. It's difficult to figure out the best deal, as it's so situational.
Now, this is an article about cheap divorces, so we're not going to tell you to reach for the attorney, but if things get too heated, you may need to talk to one. Filing your papers online won't work unless the two of you reach an agreement. It's hard to reach one when emotions are high, but the two of you can do it!
There are some third-party resources you can use if you're having trouble finding the documents online, but many are dubious. The first problem is that there are a lot of these resources, and many claims to be 'the one,' but they're outdated at best, scammy at worst. Some claim to be free but end up costing money. Many are outdated. When it comes to divorce laws, things are always changing, and filing under an outdated law can make you restart the process all over again. It's no fun having to refile, so look for a website that is reputable.
Where can you look for a good site? There is no straight answer, as that will vary when it comes to state and county. However, good websites will be highly rated and give you a choice to speak to an attorney before you file. You can usually get a free consultation, which can help you file in peace instead of having to worry that you got the documents wrong. You may also get your forms reviewed before obtaining them.
If you get your papers through a third-party, you'll still have to file in person, or through an attorney, but by having a good third party outlet review the papers, you can file with much better security.
Getting Papers In Person
Sometimes, the county website does not have the papers you need, and all third party resources seem dubious. Sometimes, it's best to get them in person. If you want to get your divorce papers in person, you should be able to obtain them for free. There may be a chance they don't have the papers, and they will send them through the mail. While there shouldn't be a cost, this may vary depending on the situation, so beware. Always do some research before picking up the papers.
After you obtain the papers, you should make a few copies. Some clerks may want multiple copies of your papers, and if that's the case, you'll want to have them ready. Sometimes, they'll copy them for you. Other times, they'll make you copy them by yourself. Plus, having copies is good in case something happens to the original. At the very least, preserve your documents digitally, as that will last the longest and you can print them at a consistent quality.
The Filing Process
You can file your papers online through the website if the option allows you to, or you can bring in the files to the clerk's office. Make sure everything is up to date, and you have the proper paperwork. Also, it does not hurt to ask the county clerk any questions or concerns you may have. The laws may change, or you may be overlooking something. You want to make sure you've been a resident long enough to file for a divorce. Some states or counties require you to do that.
The Fun Of Filing Fees
If you want your divorce to be as cheap as possible, the final challenge is figuring out how much it costs to file. Most courts will charge money to file, and it can vary. Sometimes, it's $100. Other times, it can be $500. There never is a flat fee across the country, so it's best that you look it up and get a general idea.
If you can't afford the fees, there is a way for you to get them waived. The government charges fees so they can get revenue, but they're not going to trap you in a marriage if you can't afford them. Ask about getting your fees waived. You may have to apply for it or prove that you don't have money, but by proving you can't afford it, there's a good chance you can have the fees waived and you don't have to stress yourself out even more.
This is how you get and file your papers for as least as possible. Now, it's going to depend on the state and county you're in. Some places will be more difficult to file without paying a whole lot, and some places you can file for pretty much nothing. So to answer the question of the article, it depends on where you live. You need to do your research and find out just how much you're expected to pay.
The best way to save money on divorce is to reach an agreement with your partner that does not require any lawyers. In some cases, that is difficult; the two of you are in high emotions, and the cool heads of the attorneys are the only way you can reach an agreement. However, if the two of you can reach an agreement, all the better.
Before you get the papers, think about the reason you're getting a divorce. Sometimes, the reason is non-negotiable. Other times, it may be due to a miscommunication, and by seeking marriage counseling, you may be able to save the marriage.
Many couples are afraid to express their emotions, or afraid to seek therapy, and that's the reason why their marriage fails. But by communicating regularly and seeking help, you can have a marriage that lasts you a lifetime. However, don't be afraid to end the marriage if you're not going to be happy with it.