|Divorce Service||Total Cost||My Score||Ready Time||Form Delivery Methods||Customer Support||Visit Website|
|3 Step Divorce||$299||9.8||20 Minutes||Instant Download and Priority Mail (free)||Phone, E-mail and Live Chat||Visit|
|Complete Case||$299||9.7||30 Minutes||Immediate Download||Phone and E-mail||Visit|
|Rocket Lawyer||$39.99+||9.0||1 Hour||Instant Download||Phone and E-Mail||Visit|
|Wevorce||$949||8.9||30 Days||Postal Mail (USPS or FedEx)||Phone and E-Mail||Visit|
Divorce, even when you try to remain friends, can be downright cruel. It’s the ending of life as you know it and the beginning of a new chapter in your story. We’ve all watched celebrities with their divorce drama splashed across the internet, magazines and television.
Thankfully, not every divorce needs to be this complicated. In fact, many marriages end peacefully through an uncontested divorce. If both parties agree on everything, there is absolutely no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer and have long-drawn-out courtroom battles. An online uncontested divorce makes it easy to sever ties and save money; allowing you to move on to the next chapter of your life.
Remember, not every situation is right for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse are arguing over the division of assets, child support or custody, then it’s may make sense to get an attorney and go the traditional route. That said, if your divorce can be done amicably and peacefully, then obtaining your divorce forms online from a reputable service can save you a great deal of money and time.
My online divorce service Quick Picks for 2020:
If you are in a hurry, here are my two favorite divorce websites in this review:
- 3StepDivorce – By far the most reliable and affordable divorce service. You get what you pay for with 3StepDivorce. Includes a free name change form (for wife) and much more. $50 cash rebate if you file within one business day. 100% satisfaction guarantee. Visit 3StepDivorce website.
- CompleteCase – A close runner up. A fast and reliable service. A great choice if you're looking for a quick online uncontested divorce. Includes a free Last Will and Testament (with storage). Visit CompleteCase website.
Having personally used 3StepDivorce to successfully end my marriage, I can attest to the service's claims of speed, accuracy and reliability – which is why I have selected it as my number one recommended service on this website.
Factors to consider when choosing a divorce site
Before making a final decision on which divorce site you intend to use to purchase your divorce paperwork, there are a few things you should consider:
Are your divorce papers guaranteed to be court-approved?
It is critical that the divorce forms you receive from the service you're considering are up to date to ensure they are going to be court-approved. Laws and regulations change regularly from state-state and divorce services need to stay on top of these changes.
If the company does not guarantee court ready documents, I would be weary. You could find yourself in a situation where you need to hire an attorney to modify your forms. This can be extremely expensive; well into the four figure range.
How much does the service charge? Is it reasonably priced?
Every divorce site charges a different price for the use of their technology to generate your divorce paperwork. The best online divorce services clearly display their prices. You should be fully informed on how much the service will cost from start to court filing.
Check to make sure the service is charging a flat rate, one time only fee. If this is not clearly indicted on their website, I would be concerned. Transparency is important, and you should know up front what the cost will be and not be surprised by hidden or monthly fees you were not aware of at the time of purchase.
How will you contact customer support if you need help?
How would you like to communicate with customer support in the event you have a question or require assistance? Most services offer support across a variety of mediums: phone, live chat and e-mail.
Be sure to check that the service offers customer support communication on a medium you are comfortable with. If you would like to talk to someone on the phone, it is best to check before buying that they offer toll free phone support.
Does the service provide any court filing assistance?
Does the online divorce service provide post-purchase assistance with filing your documents with the court? Some services do not provide any assistance outside of your forms. Once your forms are generated, you are on your own when it comes to filing them.
If it’s important for you to have someone you can call for advice should you encounter any problems when filing your court documents, you will want to make sure this is included in your package.
What is the turnaround time? How long until you receive your final paperwork?
If it is important for you to get your divorce forms right away for filing, you will want to select a service that offers instantly downloadable forms. If you sign up with a service that sends your forms via postal snail mail, you will be waiting some time for your documents (which may disadvantageous in your situation).
What are the differences between divorce vs dissolution?
When it comes to divorce vs dissolution, they are often used interchangeably in legal applications. However, there is a vast difference. Though the two words have a similar meaning, they are not at all the same. Both will result in the termination of marriage, but how the marriage ends differs with each one.
The court must rule on matters like child custody, alimony, and child support, when an order is passed regardless of whether it’s for a dissolution or a divorce. In that way, both are very similar.
The procedure and concept are the same because in both legal actions the couple is separated. To end a union, you have the choice of divorce or dissolution. The key is understanding the conditions and significances of each one.
What exactly is a divorce?
The major difference between a divorce and a dissolution is that in divorce someone is at fault. You must have grounds to sue for divorce. For instance, you can use grounds like infidelity, mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, and being married under false pretenses. So if your spouse is verbally abusive, it can be used as a ground to end the union.
One of the biggest disadvantages of a divorce is that they are very costly and can drag on forever. There are numerous decisions that must be made, and the court must be involved in all of them. It takes a lot of time to get to a place where both parties agree on a matter. Some divorces can take years and costs thousands of dollars due to all the arguing over trivial matters.
What exactly is a dissolution?
In a dissolution, no one is at fault. The court doesn’t have to find one party or the other to blame for the marriage ending. Filing this way doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems in the union, it just means that both take equal responsibility and want to end the marriage quickly and peacefully. Just because no party is more responsible than the other doesn’t mean that you can file this way.
In addition to no-fault, the couple must agree on everything. Keep in mind that in these situations the court reviews the paperwork and signs off on it. They don’t give these cases the time and effort that a divorce gets as all the leg work is done before it gets to them.
Before filing a petition, the following matters must be settled:
- Alimony or Spousal Support
- Visitation and Parenting Schedule
- Child Support
- Division of Assets/Property
- Debt Division
Many people are in favor of filing for a dissolution because it costs less. Another benefit is the union is severed a lot faster than in a divorce. Because there is nothing to work out between the parties, it’s the quickest way to separate. Those who are in a hurry to move on with their life often choose this option to be done with everything in a timely manner.
Which option is the right one for you?
You may wonder which option is best for you and your situation. First, do you and your spouse agree on everything? There cannot be one item that you are arguing over or you will need to file for divorce.
Second, do you have the time and energy to fight a long battle over assets and debts? If you have significant wealth, then you may want a lawyer to protect you and your money. The grounds are the biggest reason for divorce. You must put the legal blame on one party for the end of your union.
A dissolution is best when you agree on everything or you don’t really have many assets or debts to squabble about. Both parties take responsibilities even if they don’t want too.
The difference of opinion is the grounds used in a dissolution, which is why continuing the union would be difficult. It’s better financially to separate through dissolution because it’s cost efficient.
The many options for a legal dissolution
For a dissolution, you can choose a few different ways to file. You can hire an attorney to represent you, you can fill out the paperwork yourself, or you can use an online service.
An attorney will still be the highest cost, even in a dissolution. You can fill out the paperwork yourself and pay the filing fee. However, did you know that if you mess up the paperwork your case can be thrown out of court? Do you really want to risk starting over again and paying another filing fee?
The best option is an online divorce filing service. They ask you a serious of questions that are pertinent to your life. You fill in the answers and they transfer them onto the official forms.
An online service works in all 50 states, so they have the forms you need to file. Once your forms have been completed and reviewed by the service, all you need to do is sign them and file at your courthouse.
You have the option to forgo a formal hearing and you can receive your decree in the mail. An online service is the most cost efficient and best option to ensure your paperwork is done right. If there is any way that you and your spouse can agree on things, it will be best to go this route.
A traditional divorce may be more expensive than you think
In the United States, the average divorce costs over $10,000, and some couples pay as much as $30,000. It’s easy to see that the cost of ending a marriage is skyrocketing.
Those staggering figures are leading many to negotiate even when they would rather fight it out in court. Spending over $10,000 is a heck of a bill to get out of an unhappy marriage.
Thankfully, there are ways for you to keep the costs down.
How much does a divorce cost if both parties agree on everything?
If both parties agree on everything, the divorce process is pretty straight-forward. The cost really starts to increase when you and your spouse arguing over every little detail. Plan to spend about $250 on a filing fee and another $50 for service to your spouse.
Now, the attorney fees are where it’s all over the map. If you don’t have any assets or children, then your divorce can be as low as a $1,000 retainer. However, if you add in a couple of bank accounts, a house, and some children, then the initial down payment can be $2,500 or more.
Keep in mind these are just the down payments. The average attorney bills out at $250 an hour. Every time you email, call or get any correspondence, it’s added to the running tab. Watch how quickly that $2,500 disappears. In some areas, you may be asked to replenish your retainer.
A few tips for cutting the cost of a divorce
Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can cut your divorce costs. An uncontested divorce is much cheaper than one where there is ample contention.
Consider divorce mediation services
Using mediation services is an excellent option. These third-party representatives help you to focus on the issue and less of the contention. They help with custodial agreements and asset division.
Mediation services start at roughly $500, and it’s a great option to help cut the budget. They have helped many people avoid the courtroom drama and end a marriage on a high note.
Use a divorce site to get your paperwork
One of the best options for those who want to get out of their marriage on a budget is to file online. Every court gives people the opportunity to file the paperwork yourself and just pay the filing fee.
Filing pro-se is risky when you know nothing about the laws that protect you. The problem is that unless you have some legal knowledge, filling out that paperwork can be a nightmare. An online service is a fraction of the cost of a divorce attorney. They use interview type questions, think tax programs, and take your answers to fill out the court’s forms.
These services know what forms you need for your area. Once everything is prepared, the paperwork is sent to you to sign and file. It’s the simplest way to end an unhappy union, and it works for many people.
The key is you must have all the little details already worked out. You must agree on everything. If you file the paperwork and then have disagreements regarding assets or a visitation schedule, then your case will be moved to a divorce instead of a dissolution.
Another advantage is that most dissolutions don’t require you to go to court. A judge may need you to come in if there is something that they have questions about, but generally, you won’t have to face the other party in a formal type setting. The judge will sign off on your petition, and your marriage will cease to exist.
Online divorces are a fraction of the cost and having someone help you ensure the papers are right is priceless.
The hidden costs of divorce that aren't typically considered
Some of the other fees that people don’t consider in a divorce can also increase the overall costs. For instance, if you both own a house, then the home will need to be sold and the amount split.
The only other option is that one party remains in the home and buys out the interests of the other party. You may end up needing to pay for a move and all the costs associated with relocation.
If there are numerous assets, then you may need to call in a specialist to help. An accountant can assist in selling or dividing the property equitably. While considering the legal fees are important, many other costs cannot be ignored.
It would behoove you to do whatever possible to iron out all the details amicably. If you have children, you will need to work with your ex for many years to come, if not for life.
Compromise is the key to a peaceful end. You can be contentious and fight it out in court, but you are the one who will ultimately pay. Do you really want to run up a massive bill that you cannot afford? The other option is for you to cut your losses and be open minded.
The sooner you can finish up this unsettled business, the quicker you can start moving on with your life.
Common questions asked about online divorces
I regularly receive questions from visitors. Below are the most common questions I have received pertaining to uncontested divorces online.
Is it completely legal to get divorce papers online?
Yes, it is completely within the confines of the law to get your divorce papers online. If you were to seek the counsel of a lawyer in your area, the lawyer would ultimately prepare the exact same forms that you get from an online divorce service. The primary difference would be cost; thousands of dollars for a lawyer versus couple hundred dollars to do it online.
Remember, these forms vary from state-to-state and can be rather complex in nature as each state maintains its own unique divorce laws. That is the advantage to using a service online. They regularly keep track of ever-changing divorce laws and streamline the process of generating your forms. This ensures the forms you receive are accurate, up-to-date and court-ready.
How legitimate are online divorces?
Online divorces are just as legitimate as filing for divorce with an attorney – the process and paperwork is exactly the same. Similar to what a local attorney does, online divorce websites regularly keep up-to-date on the divorce laws and regulations for each state. This allows the service to generate the exact same state specific and court-ready divorce papers that you would receive from a local attorney but at a significantly reduced price.
Do you need a lawyer for a ‘pro se' divorce?
A ‘pro se' divorce is an uncontested divorce; a divorce where both parties agree on everything and there are no disputes over custody of children, division of property/assets/debt, alimony, child support, etc. If this applies to your situation, you only need proper divorce paperwork to end the marriage.
If you already have prepared your divorce forms and signed them, you do not need a lawyer to file your papers with the state. That said, there are people who hire an experienced lawyer in their area to carefully review and amend their documents prior to submitting them to the court. This is what is known as a ‘hybrid’ online uncontested divorce.
If you were to pursue this route, you would pay a lawyer for the time it takes them to review and modify (if necessary) your divorce papers. Depending on the lawyer you hire, you could spend anywhere from $250-$500 per hour (possibly more in major metropolitan areas).
How long does it take to get an uncontested divorce?
The total time it takes to complete an online uncontested divorce boils down to two factors primarily. First is the turn around time of the uncontested divorce forms you purchased online.
The other factor is how long it will take the court to process your paperwork and assign you a Judgment of Divorce hearing. Generally speaking, most online divorce services will turn around divorce forms instantly after you answer the required questions. Once the form is generated, you can download it, print it, sign it and file it with the court (you will have to pay court filing fees).
At that point, it is out of your hands. You have to wait for the court to assign you a Judgment of Divorce hearing date. This can be anywhere from a few days to a year, depending on how busy the court is and if your state has minimum waiting time periods.
Interestingly, the quickest uncontested divorces occur in Hawaii, Minnesota, South Dakota and Nevada. In states like New York, Maryland and North Carolina, there is a law on the books that require a minimum 12 month waiting period. New Jersey is even worse with a minimum 18 month waiting period before you can get a hearing.
What is the cost of an uncontested divorce online?
Compared to hiring a local attorney, the cost of an uncontested divorce online is the cheapest and fastest way to end a marriage (as long as both you and your spouse agree on everything). This includes child support, alimony and division of debt/assets. If this applies to your present situation, you will have two costs:
The first cost is the price of your prepared and court-ready divorce forms. You can browse the comparison chart on this page (up at the top) for a complete list of prices; it is generally in the ballpark of $200-$300 for a reputable service.
After receiving your divorce paperwork, you will need to file it. There is no way around this. To file with the state, you will be responsible for paying a filing fee prior to the court accepting your paperwork. This is typically in the neighborhood of $200 but will vary by state.
Note: In some cases, you can petition the court to waive your filing for (for reasons of financial hardship) but this rare and not guaranteed.
Is it possible to get divorced for free?
Technically, yes, but it is extremely rare. The only way to obtain a free uncontested divorce is to petition the court to waive the state imposed divorce filing fee. It is my understanding that the court rarely grants this waiver to individuals. If they do, it is because of circumstances like extreme financial hardship. Honestly, I would not count on the court waiving for filing fee, but I suppose anything is worth a shot.
I am a soldier. Can I file for a military divorce online?
Military divorces are quite common with distance often put between spouses as well as stress brought on by combat and other uncontrollable circumstances. However, these divorces are entirely different than a typical dissolution because if a person is stationed overseas or is on active duty, there are specific laws that apply. The law governs the pay allocation for the military’s retirement as well as the fact that the benefits continue for the spouse once the divorce is finalized.
A divorce service such as 3StepDivorce has built-in support for filing a military divorce. You will be asked up-front if you or your spouse are in the military. If so, you will then be asked all relevant questions so that the correct forms for a military divorce can be created.
Where to file for divorce in the military
When a military professional is placed on active duty, the question is “where do you file for divorce?” The rule of thumb is that you file where you pay your state taxes. Your driver’s license and bank accounts are all linked to one city, and this is where you should submit your legal documents.
Not only is it the easiest logistically, but it’s considered the legal home of the person. For the divorce to be valid, it must be filed in the location that the military person considers their permanent residence.
For active duty personnel, some states are a bit looser on the requirements for residency. If a person is stationed in one state but lives in another, they can sometimes file in the state they are stationed in or where they live now.
Each state has rules for waiting periods, but all offer no-fault divorces. The location is essential when considering custodial arrangements and other details pertinent to assets.
Another advantage to being in the military is that a spouse can file for divorce if one or both parties are overseas on location. It’s always better to file in the United States rather than in another nation. The reason is the military should honor the pension division here, but they don’t have to acknowledge it from a foreign country. A judgment received overseas may not hold up here either and be a total waste of time and resources.
The Leave and Earnings Statement is a useful document to have during a divorce. It will show the current rate of pay, leave accrued, and the permanent address of the military member, but it’s also helpful in showing tax information and assisting the judge to sort out all the details.
Military benefits available to your dependents
One of the perks of being in the military is that they provide for the dependents of personnel after the divorce is finalized. Even if the servicemembers receive a dishonorable discharge, the dependents still get the benefits. Depending on the situation, there are various levels of compensation that you can receive.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act says that up to 50 percent of the retirement pay of the military member can be awarded in a divorce. However, keep in mind that this is not the amount always given or the maximum amount given, it’s just the average.
To determine if the spouse gets full benefits, the 20/20/20 rule is utilized. It depends on how long you were married to see if your spouse will get commissary or medical benefits.
The court also looks at the number of years during the marriage that the spouse was in active service. All these numbers help the court to come up with a fair compensation percentage.
Other things to take under consideration
Just as a civilian divorce, military personnel can file uncontested or contested. The rules will be the same for anyone filing either petition in that there will need to be grounds for the divorce or a complete agreement on the assets and custody issues.
When it’s a non-contested divorce, and a party is in the military, then the couple must first file for a separation agreement. The court must see the documents handling assets and child custody/support before they can grant a divorce.
If something is going on while in the service that prevents a military professional from legally protecting themselves, then they can ask the court to postpone the legal proceedings.
The Military Divorce Postponement & the Civil Relief Act allows people who are in active combat, or in areas where they are not accessible, to delay their divorce until their ability to handle the matter suitably. They must submit the request in writing to take advantage of this advantage.
All military divorces are reported to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. TRICARE is the insurance company that provides health insurance to both the spouse and children. While they will continue to provide benefits to the kids, the spouse loses all rights to coverage.
Any biological children will be protected until they reach 21 years or age. If the child chooses to enroll in college, they can collect benefits until they are 23 years of age. The only stipulation is that they cannot marry and are a dependent of the military professional.
Can I get same sex divorce papers online?
The world forever changed when the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry. It all happened on June 25, 2015, and this ruling allowed people who were separated by rules and regulations to unite in marriage. A Due Process and Equal Protection Clause was added to the Constitution's 14th Amendment to ensure equality for all.
The court case that changed everything
It all began with then Obergefell v. Hodges case. The ruling, in this case, meant that not only could gay couples marry, but they also had the same rights to divorce.
Before this ruling was handed down, people were going to states that allowed gay marriage to take their vowels, but their marriages weren’t recognized in their home states because of the ban. Everything changed because all states were now required to acknowledge the laws of the others.
The same rules apply to same-sex couples that apply to others nationwide. The residency restrictions must be upheld, though. You should not file in the locale where you were married unless you still reside there. Everyone needs to file where they currently live.
Prior to this ruling, people couldn’t file for divorce because their state didn’t recognize them as legally married. Thankfully, everything changed.
With these rights also comes the right to ask the court for help in divorce.
Do-it-yourself same sex divorce? Can it be done?
Whether the marriage is same-sex or a heterosexual one doesn’t matter, you can still successfully complete a divorce without a lawyer. We live in the do-it-yourself generation.
Why pay all the expenses of an attorney if you and your spouse agree on everything? Who wants to spend thousands of dollars and have a long-drawn-out battle if you can part amicably?
Divorce is always easier if there is no arguing. Many couples can come to terms on alimony, child support and custody arrangements, as well as the division of property. If you are concerned about the costs, then the do-it-yourself option is best.
Understanding the same sex divorce process
You have a few options regarding the completion of paperwork for your divorce petition. First, you can pick up a packet at your local courthouse and fill it out yourself. The only problem with this method is many people are not legal savvy, and you want to make sure that it’s done right.
Another option is to pay an attorney to handle the divorce or dissolution for you. This is the most expensive option because the average separation is at least $10,000.
Lastly, you can go online and do your paperwork through the help of a service. This is the best option because you will be asked a series of questions that are easy to answer. You must know all about your assets, balances on credit cards, and the birthdates and social security numbers of all parties involved.
Once the interview is completed, it fills in the dissolution documents for you. What could be easier? Your paperwork is done right, and it’s professionally drafted for the court in the area in which you reside.
Once you have your completed paperwork in hand, you must file it at the appropriate courthouse. Your state has rules and requirements for residency. Most locales require at least six months in an area (to establish residency) before you can file in the state.
For example, in the state of Ohio, you can file the paperwork in the county where you reside even if your spouse no longer lives there, but you must have been there for six months. Florida has the same rules. Check with your municipality to find out the requirements.
What else to think about
Just like any other divorce, things tend to get messy. Often couples fight over the division of property and child or spousal support. Spousal support or alimony is figured based on how many years a couple has been together.
It is the same for both same-sex and heterosexual unions. When it comes to children things can get quite complicated. Before the ruling was handed down, the legal parent had all the rights to the child.
However, the state adoption laws grant non-birth parent’s permission to adopt the child if their partner gives birth during their marriage. It gets messy when the parent isn’t listed as a legal guardian; however, the court may still rule in favor of the other parent.
It’s always best to work out these issues before you go to court to save time and money.