There is no doubt that divorce is a stressful experience. The complexities of divorce can drag on for a long period, leaving both parties financially and emotionally drained.
After the talk with your spouse about the divorce, your first step is to decide how you will do it.
Are you going to hire an expensive attorney that charges by the hour or pick an online divorce service with a fixed price? Your whole divorce experience might depend on your choice.
Let’s discover how online divorce can save you time and reduce stress so you can make an informed decision.
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How Online Divorce Can Save You Time and Reduce Stress
The divorce rate in the US is 2.5 per 1,000 population. Whatever the reason for the divorce, many couples decide to end their marriage by using online divorce services.
If you are one of them, it is more than clear you are not just a number. Juggling work, kids, and maintaining an active life is hard enough. Adding a divorce can be even more challenging.
Luckily, online divorce can save you time and reduce stress. You avoid a lot of the complications during this period of your life.
Online divorce services can provide you with the needed support on multiple levels, starting with the general information about filing for divorce and finishing with complete paperwork for the court. Having a divorce online without physical meetings and breaking the bank, for sure, sounds tempting.
Let’s take a look at the different features and benefits of online divorce. Then we’ll give you some tips on choosing the right online divorce service for you.
Features and Benefits of Online Divorce
The best online divorce services have a qualification test. You can’t do that with an attorney for free online. This tool will save you the trouble of wasting valuable time using the services and not reaching a final result.
You will be a few minutes and a couple of simple questions away from determining if the online divorce platform fits your and your partner’s needs.
But how does the qualification test work?
Typically, the algorithm decides if your case is for online divorce by gathering information about things like:
- Where do you and your partner stand about getting a divorce
- The current state of your relationship
- Familiarity with the divorce process
- Asset and debt situation
- Whether you need a child custody agreement
The average California divorce attorney costs a fortune. Nationally it costs an average of $25,000+, and it’s even more expensive in California.
And with attorneys you can’t even calculate in advance the exact cost. Almost all attorneys charge a retainer fee just to get started on your case, which ranges between $5,000 and $10,000. They charge by the hour so once the retainer is used up they ask for more. You never know what the cost will be.
On the contrary, online divorce services cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the needs of your divorce:
- If your case is simple (e.g. two cars and one bank account to split) and you’re in full agreement, a simple form-fill divorce document site might be right for you. These generally cost a few hundred dollars.
- If your case is a little more complex (maybe you need a child custody agreement or have retirement accounts) or you don’t agree with your spouse on everything, you’ll need a site that includes more sophisticated capabilities and dispute resolution. These sites cost a few thousand dollars, which is still a LOT less than attorneys.
The average time to get a divorce in the U.S. is 12 to 15 months. A lot of this time is because lawyers drag out the process with back and forth arguing and slow response times. Multiple court hearings also drag things out.
Luckily user-friendly online solutions can make the process much shorter.
If you’re just filling forms for a simple divorce you can get it done in one or two months. Be aware, though, that even just the paperwork is a multi-step process. In California you’ll use an online service to go through the following process:
- File a petition for divorce and wait for approval from the court (usually 2-5 weeks)
- Once the petition is approved, serve a summons on your spouse. Your spouse will need to respond to the summons.
- Fill out and share the state-required disclosure forms with each other.
- Prepare your judgment and other required forms and submit them to the court. This is your final paperwork that can only be prepared and filed once the previous three steps have taken place.
If you use a service like BlissDivorce, which can handle a more complicated case and includes digital or human mediation services, your divorce may take a little more time. You can plan on about two to four months, depending on how committed you and your spouse are to get through the process. This is still much faster than hiring attorneys.
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Streamlined, easier solution
In addition to the money- and time-saving benefits, many couples find online divorce services more convenient than traditional divorces.
There are no tense physical meetings. Court hearings are usually avoided. Communication can take place through an online platform, which reduces stress and makes the process easier. You get to go through the entire divorce process online, from the comfort of your own home.
Another way online divorce can save you time and reduce stress is that there is no need to fit into someone else’s schedule, travel, and spend time on endless meetings.
Online divorce makes fast divorce finalization possible by letting you use the power of the Internet to go through the process quickly, instead of hiring attorneys.
Greater control over the outcome
No one knows your situation and the circumstances of your divorce better than you. So no one is better than you at coming up with the right agreement for you.
A major advantage of handling your divorce through an online service is greater control over the outcome. With online divorce you decide how property will be divided and how much support will be paid. This is not all left in the hands of a judge who you don’t know and who might or might not favor your partner.
This can sound a little intimidating, but a good online divorce service will provide information and tips to help you make the right decisions for your divorce. The better online divorce services provide customer support and access to experts like mediators to help you work out the best agreement.
No need to understand legal jargon
Have you ever talked to a lawyer? They’re not easy to understand. They’re trained to speak in complex legal terms and are usually pretty bad at explaining things to non-lawyers. That’s why people came up with the term “legalese,” to describe the confusing way lawyers talk.
One of the benefits of a good online divorce service is that someone has taken the time to translate all that legalese into plain English. So there’s no legal jargon to slow you down. Every section you go through during your online divorce is written in plain English. No need to learn fancy legal words and stress if you don’t understand what is requested from you.
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A final benefit of online divorce is you won’t spend hours trying to fill out complex legal paperwork on your own. There are many required forms to get a divorce, and they can be confusing. Online divorce services help make sure you’re completing the right forms and reduce the chances of errors.
There are some differences between online divorce sites when it comes to paperwork preparation. Most have software that guides you through filling out the forms yourself. This is easier than doing it by hand but can still take quite a bit of time. And there is also a chance you might get something wrong, in which case the court will send back your paperwork to be fixed.
An alternative is to choose an online divorce service that uses professionals to prepare your paperwork. This might cost a little more money, but it can pay off in terms of getting the paperwork right and not having to spend hours and hours of your time revising and resubmitting complicated forms. Getting the paperwork done right also means you can get divorced faster and move on with your life.
Choosing an Online Divorce Service
There are a number of things to consider when choosing an online divorce service. Here are the questions you should ask yourself:
- Do I need a simple form fill site or an online service that can handle more complex issues?
If all you and your spouse are splitting up is a couple cars and a checking account, you can probably use one of the cheap form-fill sites. You don’t need anything fancy.
But what if you have a home and one or more estate properties? What about retirement accounts, child custody and spousal support? There are online divorce services that can handle these issues.
If you have these issues to include in a divorce agreement, make sure that the online site you’re considering can not only handle these issues but also will provide good information to help you decide how to handle these issues. A premium site will probably be the best choice.
- Do we have disagreements to work out?
Most online divorce sites do not include any kind of dispute resolution. You need to work out your agreement on your own.
Unfortunately, most divorces involve some level of disagreement. If this is the case in your divorce, look for a site that provides dispute resolution tools, mediators or some other way to resolve disagreements. You’ll pay a little more than form-fill sites, but you’ll save a lot of money compared to the alternative: fighting it out with attorneys.
- Do they have a plan that meets my needs?
A lot of online divorce services are one size fits all. You come in and use their process no matter what your situation.
But divorces are not all the same. In fact, every divorce is different. Be sure to check if the online divorce service you’re considering has plans you can choose from. This will ensure you can choose the plan that best fits your needs.
- Do they have an easy to use dashboard?
One of the main reasons to use an online divorce service is that it’s easier. But not all online divorce platforms are all that easy. In fact, some are old and have not had a major update in ages.
Be sure to check out the navigation and user interface of the online divorce sites you are considering. One key thing to look for is an easy-to-use dashboard that gives you a good overview of the process. If a site doesn’t have this you might want to think twice about using it.
How can you tell if an online divorce service will be easy to use? There should be videos you can review on the site. Better yet, see if the site provides a free trial or free access to get started. Which gets us to our next issue…
- Can I try out the online divorce service for free?
It’s really hard to know how an online service will work until you get in there and start to use it. So it’s really helpful to be able to try out an online divorce service before you have to pay.
Look for online divorce sites that give you free access to get started and try things out, or include a free trial. You might want to be skeptical of sites that don’t provide this, because it shows they are not confident in the capabilities of their own site.
- Do they provide a guarantee?
A good online divorce service should stand behind its work. Most will provide a guarantee that paperwork will be accepted by the court. Be sure to check this because the last thing you want is to go through the time and effort to prepare your paperwork and then be left in the lurch if it’s rejected by the court.
- Do they provide customer support?
You’d be surprised. With many online divorce services you’re on your own. You have to go through the process with little or no customer support. This can be a problem because divorce can be confusing and sometimes it’s hard to figure it out yourself.
Be sure to choose an online divorce that has good customer support, preferably available by chat, phone and email. You’ll be glad you did.
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You can get divorced online without attorneys involved. Knowing how online divorce can save you time and reduce stress will bring you one step closer to signing divorce papers. Online divorce ticks all the boxes: less stress, less time, no unnecessary meetings, reduces conflicts, and lets you decide. The best online divorce services also have mediation or other dispute resolution tools to help you work out a complete agreement.
For divorce done on your own terms with less hassle and in less time, consider online divorce.