Divorce can be a hectic, stressful, and financially draining time for all concerned. One of the best ways to avoid any of the more negative feelings associated with any divorce is to make every effort to avoid litigation and fighting. A good divorce is a clean divorce, and in the end, the most cost effective way for divorcing couples without extreme issues to separate is by conducting as much of their divorce in private as possible. Generally speaking, most states will grant a divorce without requiring any consultation with lawyers, and with minimal court time.
If you and your divorcing spouse are in agreement over the terms of the divorce, you may be able to complete your divorce by satisfactorily completing and lodging just a petition for divorce, where you must show that your marriage is irretrievably broken down. Obtaining free divorce papers is easy, as all states provide online divorce papers. However, states will charge varying fees for various services, including the lodgment of a petition for divorce with the court. You should note that any divorce proceedings that involve a child are always more complicated. In some states, where both spouses agree on child custody arrangements and visitation rights, this simply means that a couple needs to submit one additional form. In other states, the existence of children from the marriage will rule out the more simplified avenues. In all states, the court will at th very least, examine the terms of a custody agreement, even where the parents are not in dispute, to verify that the agreement is sensible, legal, and serves the wellbeing of the child.
If you do not anticipate a legal battle in your pending divorce, you may wish to opt for the cheaper path of managing all of your divorce proceedings personally. All the required information and forms can be downloaded from here, or as directed by your state's government website. Many people do not realize that most divorces never see the inside of a court room, and that even if there are issues that you know you will not be in agreement with your spouse to begin with, this does not mean you need to invoke legal action to resolve the dispute. The US courts system is already overwhelmed by the volume of lawsuits it is host to, and during the past fifteen years, governments have been taking measures designed to encourage disagreeing parties at every level to resolve their differences outside the courtroom. To this end, most states subsidize mediation services which couples can make use of to resolve their differences without the hassle and cost of litigation.
Before getting started, there are a few things you need to research:
- What are the pre-requisites for divorce in your state? Some states require that a couple live apart for 6 months, others require a year, others might have a mandatory six-month cooling off period between lodgment of the petition, and its taking effect. You should also check whether any local county by-laws affect your divorce.
- What are the additional requirements where children are involved? Some states will not allow parents access to the accelerated divorce options they otherwise offer.
- Do you have all of the required documentation? Copies of divorce papers and marriage certificates are available from most states for a fee of less than $20.
Remember that any step that you need to repeat will cost you an additional fee (for instance, divorce petitions are often not granted where there is insufficient information supplied to the court.) If you're trying to take the low cost approach, better to err on the side of caution before submitting any documents.
If you're in the USA, and you wish to avoid litigation and lawyers, but don't know how to proceed with the divorce yourself, you may wish to consider an Online Divorce
who go through the steps of form lodgment, and assist people to conduct their own divorce settlements.
If there's no property or finances to settle, then you can probably do it yourself. There's a number of places online where you can carry out a divorce (which is much cheaper than going through the courts and lawyers). Legal Zoom's 3-Step Divorce Process
can provide quick and easy online divorces.
You can also get free divorce papers from here
.Outside the US
In the UK, the Courts Service makes all divorce forms available to the public for free. Like in the US, lodgment of some forms will attract a fee, however, this may be reduced or waived for people under demonstrable financial difficulty. You do not need to engage a solicitor at any point if you reach an agreement on terms, and you understand the law well enough to conduct your own divorce. To get started, download forms D183 and D184
(and D185 if there are children involved).In Australia
You will need at the least, an Application for Divorce Kit
from the Federal Magistrates Court. If the respondent wishes to dispute the divorce, they may do so lodging a Response to Divorce. Sole-applicants will also need a Divorce Service Kit, which allows them to serve their spouse with the petition, or if they cannot be found, has the necessary forms to waive this requirement. The cost of lodging an application is just under $300, which might be reduced or waived for people under financial strain.
If you plan to get a quick and easy online divorce in Australia, the Aussie Divorce Services
can guide you.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in:
Divorce Information in the USA
Divorce Information in Australia
Divorce Information in the UK
Divorce Information in Canada