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Seeking a divorce from your partner can be an incredibly upsetting experience in itself, often causing huge shifts within your life and affecting your family unit as a whole. The last thing anyone needs once faced with the prospect of having to undertake such a life-changing process is to find themselves contending with the legal fees, court dates and extensive paperwork that divorce often brings along with it.
Thankfully, in the 21st century, divorce has changed. In some cases, you may be able to avoid the lengthy legal battles and months of paperwork in favour of having your divorce completely quickly, simply, more affordably and entirely online.
Here, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about online divorce – what it is (and how it differs from traditional divorce proceedings), who is eligible to do it and how to get started.
What Is Online Divorce?
It was reported in 2020 that traditional divorce paperwork took former couples an average of 66 weeks to complete – that’s around fifteen months. As divorce can be such a stressful process in the first place, the last thing that anyone wants is to face dealing with their divorce filing for such a lengthy period of time.
Thankfully, traditional divorce proceedings have recently received a long-awaited and much-needed modernisation, making it possible for couples to file for their divorce and complete the proceedings online. Not only is this incredibly helpful at a time when traditional court proceedings are at a standstill due to the pandemic, but will make the process quicker and easier for hundreds of thousands of couples for years to come.
The average cost of getting a traditional divorce in the USA is around $15,000, accounting for court filings, attorney fees, mediation fees and other expenses you may incur, depending on the situation between yourself and your former partner. In many cases, this total cost can be even higher.
Online divorce, however, is far more affordable – the fee for the majority of couples seeking an online divorce will not even pass the total cost of $1000. That’s an average saving of around $14,000! Online divorces can also often be completed in less than a year – sometimes within just six months.
Online Divorce vs. Traditional Divorce: What’s The Difference?
There are no shortage of differences between traditional divorce proceedings and modernised online divorce proceedings.
The main difference is, of course, the much lower cost – though this comes from one of the other main differences between the two types of divorce proceedings. The biggest savings in online divorces come from the lack of need to hire an attorney or divorce lawyer.
Couples seeking an online divorce can complete the process themselves, without the need for assistance from a legal professional.
Online divorce also eliminates the need to appear in a court of law in order to finalise the divorce process. Needless to say, waiting for court dates can add months onto the length of time it takes to complete a divorce, so this eliminates a huge portion of the time that traditional divorce proceedings take.
Finally, incorrectly filling out divorce paperwork can throw a huge spanner in the works of a traditional divorce, and you’ll often be left unaware of these mistakes until your paperwork is rejected by the district court, adding even more time onto the process. This problem is eliminated by online-only divorce paperwork.
Who Is Eligible For An Online Divorce?
Unfortunately, not all couples are eligible for an online-only divorce.
In order to have your marriage separated legally via an online divorce service, you and your spouse must be seeking an uncontested divorce. This means that the two of you are in full agreement on the terms of your divorce, including the division of property and alimony payment, as well as child custody, co-parenting terms and child support payments for those whose marriage these terms apply to.
For couples who find that they cannot agree on these terms – even if the couple is only in disagreement on one of these terms and are agreed on the rest – they must file for contested divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, contested divorces cannot currently be completed online.
Generally, the couples who will find that they are most suited to an online divorce are:
- Couples who mutually want to divorce
- Couples who do not have shared property and/or assets, or have reached a mutual agreement regarding the division of their shared properties and/or assets
- Couples who do not share children together or can reach a mutual agreement regarding custody, co-parenting and child support
- Couples who have previously signed a pre-nuptial agreement
If any of the terms above do not apply to yourself and your spouse, you may need to seek the assistance of an attorney or a divorce lawyer.
How Do I File For Divorce Online?
If you and your spouse find that you are eligible for online divorce proceedings, the first thing to do is to select your online divorce provider.
Ensure that you have looked into the fees and terms & conditions across the differing potential online divorce providers, as yourself and your spouse will need to agree on the service that you use.
Once you are both agreed on an online divorce proceedings service to use, ensure that you have all relevant marital documents (marriage certificates, pre-nuptial agreements, etc.) to hand, along with any information you may need regarding the division of property and assets. It’s worth checking with your chosen service provider to ensure that you have all the documents that the provider needs in order to grant the two of you a divorce online.
After this, you will be asked to begin filing your divorce paperwork online. Thankfully, online divorce paperwork is often much easier and quicker to complete than the hundreds of pages worth of traditional divorce paperwork, making the process much easier on both you and your partner – taking much of the stress and upset out of the traditional divorce process, so that you can focus on preparing for your new life to begin.