Marriage is a lifelong commitment that is meant to last for better or worse. However, according to statistics, more than half of couples call it quits because the union they thought would last forever has ripped them apart.
In today's modern society, getting a divorce online has become a hot topic. It's easier, costs less money, and is excellent for those who have a busy schedule. However, an online divorce isn't all it's cracked up to be.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways to dissolve a union, but which one is best may depend on your circumstances.
Pros of Online Divorce
The term online divorce can be misleading. Doing the paperwork online is legal in all 50 states and Canada, but there is no such thing as a “point and click” divorce. You still need to file the paperwork at the local courthouse where you live, and they will proceed as usual.
The beauty is that you fill out a simple question and answer session that fills in the blanks on the paperwork. What you turn into the court is a professional looking set of documents. Here are some advantages:
Online Divorce Packets Are Cheap
Some people are under the impression that online divorces are free. The cost can vary greatly. However, the low price point is one of the most significant advantages of using these services. It's just a few hundred dollars to fill out the forms online instead of going to a lawyer.
You will need to use a credit card to secure your packet, but most don’t make you pay until you are complete and ready to file.
It Speeds Up the Process
When you deal with an attorney, you must take a number. You are not the only client that they have, and you must wait until they can fit you into the schedule. Online divorces mean there is no need to meet with an attorney two or three times. You can have the paperwork done in a matter of hours.
The quicker you get the paperwork to the courthouse, the faster you can end your marriage. You don’t have to be inconvenienced with scheduling off work, driving across town, and waiting on them.
It's Hard to Make A Mistake
Nobody knows your situation better than you. Since you are answering the questions about your life, and the computer is filling in the blanks, it's hard to make a mistake. Errors in documents can slow down the process, but it’s easier for an attorney to make an error than you because they are not as familiar with your assets and liabilities.
You Can Wave Your Right to Appear
Doing things online and waiving your right to appeal means you don’t even need to see your soon to be ex. If you and your spouse agree on everything, then you don't need to be in court. You can ask for the court to handle things without you showing up at a hearing.
If the judge doesn't have any questions, then you won't need to appear.
You're in Control
When your life is hanging in the balance, you want to hurry up and get things over with. You won’t need to make costly calls to the lawyer’s office to answer questions. You know what’s going on with the paperwork because you are handling it.
Forget dealing with a paralegal who passes along messages too. You are in control, and you call the shots.
Cons of Online Divorce
While it sounds incredible to file online, save money, and get things done faster, there are a few drawbacks. An online divorce doesn't work for everyone, especially in a contested situation. Here are a few cons to consider.
It Doesn't Work in A Contested Divorce Situation
Lawyers have their place in many divorces. If your spouse is wanting to take more than their share, wanting full custody of the children, and not playing nice, then you need an attorney. A lawyer can protect your interests and help you get what’s rightfully yours.
If you fill out the paperwork online and try to file without legal help, you could live to regret that decision. Online divorce don't work for everyone, especially during heated battles. Having legal counsel is worth every penny when you could lose everything when your spouse is contesting items.
It Doesn't Change the Fact That You're Ending A Marriage
Filing your paperwork online doesn’t change the fact that you are getting divorced. It may allow you to skip dramatic court filled battles, but it’s not going to stop the emotional aspects you will experience. Whether you are sitting in a court hearing or not, ending your marriage is a hard thing. You will still need to deal with emotional baggage.
There Are Scam Websites to Be Wary Of
When it comes to the internet, there are always scammers out there trying to get your money. Before you sign up with a service and input your credit card, you need to review the company. Check ratings with the Better Business Bureau as well as other sites. See what other users are saying. Consumer reviews can give you a lot of useful information. You want a reputable company that has been around for a while.
The Paperwork Is Not Reviewed by Attorneys
Most online services don’t have attorneys on staff. Some have paralegals to make sure things are correct, but some don’t even have that. In most cases, you won’t need an attorney and can use the online system to save money. However, there are some instances where a lawyer should look over the paperwork.
Laws Can Be Complex and May Not Work in All Areas
Finally, while it’s perfectly legal to file your paperwork online in all states, there still may be some areas that require specific forms. There may also be some other nuances that require you to jump through hoops. Generally, each locale does the same thing, but they may need different forms and additional items that an online divorce service may not be aware of. Be sure to verify the divorce website is up-to-date in your area.
Filing an online divorce is a great way to make money and save time. However, it’s not the best scenario for everyone. You need to make sure that you and your spouse are willing to agree on everything and that no contention could cause you to need an attorney later.
It’s always better to bring on a lawyer, in the beginning, should there be a problem. Thankfully, many people can benefit from the online divorce process, and they can end the marriage and put the nightmare behind them without breaking the bank.