Our top pick: 3 Step Divorce
- For uncontested divorces
- Pay a flat-fee of $299
- Ready-to-file divorce forms
- Court approved forms or your money back
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By the time you or your partner has come to the difficult decision to divorce, the last thing you want to think about is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. Learn more about what to expect and what can help you can gain control and begin moving on.
There are two types of divorce in the US: contested and uncontested.
When filing for a divorce, first assess your personal situation to determine whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement on how you’d like the process to unfold.
No matter what type of divorce you pursue, the emotional effects of a marital breakup can be severe. Sorting your affairs and merely adjusting to your new reality can be exhausting and daunting, so set aside time for self-care and reflection when you can.
Your divorce is uncontested if you and your spouse agree on the full terms of your divorce. For most uncontested divorces, you will not have to appear in court. Instead, you can draft an agreement, complete the appropriate forms, and then send those forms to the court.
You do not need an attorney for an uncontested divorce. As long as you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all matters related to your divorce, it’s considered a more straightforward dissolution of marriage.
Because every state is different, confirm with your state its procedures for pursuing an uncontested divorce — you may even be able to get an online divorce.
An online divorce service offers a fast option for marital separation if the divorce is uncontested and the couple can agree on the terms of the divorce. You can find an in-depth breakdown of the pros and cons of each of these platforms with our guide to the best online divorce services.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the full terms of your divorce, your divorce is considered contested. This type of divorce is more complicated, requiring numerous steps — serving the divorce petition, attorney negotiations and more — before your divorce is considered finalized.
You may need to hire a divorce lawyer if you can’t agree on property or custody. However, even with a lawyer, you may be able to work out your divorce settlement out of court. A major drawback to lawyers is that they’re expensive — expect to pay at least $15,000, with higher costs if you can’t avoid court or have especially complicated circumstances.
Signing up for an attorney payment plan or taking out a personal loan are two ways to help pay for the high costs of divorce.
You collaborate. You basically say: We have a house, we have cars, you have jewelry, we have so much money in the bank, we don’t have kids, etc…
If you have kids, you’re gonna have to really have an attorney. I do not play the game with children because anything can happen unless they say 50/50 custody. I will share all the bills for the kids, but usually you have attorneys when there’s child custody issues.
But when there’s assets, and both parties are open — really open — and they put everything on the table and they’re not hiding anything? Then just write it out in agreement, sign it, get a court personnel, attach it to a form and file. That’s the cheapest way to go.
I don’t want to dissuade people from hiring an attorney. But if you have really next to nothing — you’re leasing a car, renting a house, have no savings and have a lot of debt — then everybody takes their own debt and moves on with their lives.
Why are you going to pay an attorney to sit down and say you all have nothing? And whatever you do, you have to pay me? There’s just no point in it. So work it out. And you can do any online forms. They have lots of stuff right now with that.
I don’t agree in every instance that you should do something online. It depends how much you have. If you have a lot of assets, you don’t want it screwed up.
Watch our full interview with Debra Opri below:
Every divorce is going to have different issues arise, so you can’t really know exactly how much a divorce will cost until it’s happening. Here are some of the most common costs:
Although both you and your spouse will suffer some emotional and financial stress in the face of a divorce, it’s often children who are most affected. If you have children, make sure their needs are met as you and your spouse work out the details of your divorce.
If possible, keep your kids on a regular routine to ensure they can be successful in school, socialize with peers and participate in the activities they enjoy. By striving to keep your home as warm and routine as possible, you can minimize the confusion children will inevitably feel with such a life change.
In some states, parents are required to attend co-parenting classes as part of the divorce process. These classes are intended to help parents learn how to cooperate in their separate lives for the overall well-being of their kids, maintaining stability within the family even as the parents live apart. These classes can help you focus on a loving way to lead your children through this big change.
Get guidance from a professional service to help manage your divorce.
The decision to end a marriage can be fraught with worry and confusion of the unknown. It can take a lot of time and you may not know where to start. But by thinking about your situation clearly and taking conscious actions throughout the process, you can come through it with your finances unscathed.
An online DIY service that charges a flat rate to generate your divorce paperwork — but watch out for the automatic membership fee.
From gathering your financial documents to finding a good therapist, we asked the experts for their No. 1 tip for divorcing spouses.
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How a court divides marital property during your divorce.
How to navigate this delicate process when little humans are involved.
It’s possible to consciously uncouple without the hefty attorney fees, but it takes some preparation on your part.
Save money by handling everything yourself, but only if it’s uncontested.
Avoid the courtroom by hiring lawyers specifically trained to manage conflict negotiations.
No-fault divorce may be faster and cheaper, but fault divorce may have more financial benefits if you’ve been wronged.
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