Online divorce has become popular over the last few years. The reason for this is that the services of divorce attorneys are very expensive. You can save a lot of money by using an online divorce service that takes care of the paperwork and offers guidance.
The legal requirements of online divorce can vary depending on the state in which you live. In California, online divorces are accepted in all counties.
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The Legal Requirements of Online Divorce
Although this process is simpler than hiring attorneys, there are some legal and practical requirements of online divorce you should consider.
Establish grounds for divorce
California, like all states, allows for no-fault divorce. This means that you do not need to give a reason for getting divorced other than “irreconcilable differences.” In fact, in California, 16 other states and the District of Columbia, no-fault is the only way to get divorced. There is no option of blaming your spouse for the divorce. In the other 33 states you have the option of pursuing a fault or no-fault divorce.
Most online divorce services require both spouses to participate. So before anything else, you must mutually agree with your spouse to use an online divorce service. In the past this meant you both needed to work out all your disagreements on your own and work together on the online service. With newer options this is no longer the case.
Once two spouses agree to get an online divorce, the next step is to work out your divorce settlement. Divorce settlements include property division, debt division, child custody, and financial support. Most online divorce services will only take care of documenting your settlement; you have to work out your agreement on your own. New services provide digital mediation tools or even online mediators to help you resolve disagreements and reach a complete settlement.
Getting to an uncontested divorce
When you use online divorce services, you will need to have an uncontested divorce. This means you and your spouse are in full agreement on all aspects of your divorce settlement, so the paperwork can be prepared and filed with the court. In California, you won’t even need to have a hearing.
If you’ve already worked out your agreement with your spouse, you can use a simple online divorce documentation service. If you have issues you need to work or aren’t sure what to include in your settlement, a newer service with digital mediation tools and/or online mediators is probably a better option.
How to Get a Divorce Online Legally
Online divorce service providers and platforms propose certain steps spouses have to take before their divorce process can start. The steps usually include creating your account on the website and answering a survey or a questionnaire about your settlements and preferences.
Online platforms for divorce could legally prepare paperwork for both spouses and send them to a professional for review. Relying on an online third party to take care of the legal matters may lower the high-stress level associated with getting a divorce.
Even though online tools make our lives easier, many people are still skeptical about the option of filing a divorce online. Luckily, this process is entirely legal, and the individuals taking care of the documents are experienced professionals in this field.
File online divorce papers
In an uncontested divorce, the couple can file a default judgment with agreement. This means you’re in agreement on your divorce settlement and are asking the court to grant your divorce without legal proceedings.
Almost all online services for filing online paperwork function in similar way. You create an account on the platform and write your information, propositions, and custody plan if you have children.
When you answer all questions on the form, the platform automatically fills out any blank spaces relating to the same query. The process from now onward is extremely simple. The online divorce service provider prepares and files it in your local court.
Most divorce paperwork filings are accepted immediately. In California, the court will accept any settlement on division of property and spousal support that both spouses agree to, provided there has been no fraud or coercion. However, the court will review child custody and support agreements to ensure they are in the best interest of the children. If the court deems they are not, the paperwork will be rejected and a hearing may be required.
Once the divorce judgment has been approved, spouses can go ahead and implement all aspects of the divorce agreement. Some states have a waiting period. In California this is six months from the date papers are served on the “respondent” spouse. However, this just means that neither spouse can remarry until the waiting period is over. All terms of the divorce agreement can be implemented as soon as they are approved by the court.
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Digital and live mediation
Some online platforms allowing people to get a divorce just by pushing a few buttons also offer mediation services. These can take the form of easy to use digital mediation tools, which provide options for common ground both parties can consider, or live sessions with a mediator over Zoom. Mediators are individuals who are skilled at helping people resolve the types of disagreements that arise in a divorce.
Most mediators are willing to schedule online meetings for any help you might need during the process. They can also offer ways of dealing with disagreements with your spouse without contacting a divorce lawyer.
If the court approves divorce papers stating the filing is uncontested and the agreement is mutual, a divorcing couple in California will not even have to attend a court hearing. In some states a hearing is required even for uncontested divorce. Also, remember that if minors are in the picture, the chance of a court hearing taking place is higher. So make sure the child custody and support you come up with is in the best interest of your children and meets the state’s requirements.
How to Choose an Online Divorce Service Provider
Every state may have different divorce laws. That’s why you need to find an online divorce service provider familiar with the laws in your state. Finding the right platform or service will ensure meeting the legal requirements of online divorce.
Browse the Internet to discover the service that handles divorce in your state. You might have to search for a while to find the right one. Luckily, most platforms provide the necessary information on their websites. Engage in thorough research before contacting them.
On the websites, you will discover how the online divorce process works and what paperwork you need to complete. You need to like the service or your chosen divorce mediator. If you are confident in their expertise and way of working, sign up on their platform to begin the online divorce process.
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Things to Consider Before Getting a Divorce Online
Getting a divorce online is cheaper than paying for a divorce attorney to represent you in court. Legal representation is unnecessary if you and your spouse’s divorce is uncontested. This is how you can save money and frequent trips to the courthouse.
Traditional divorce in the US is extremely costly. You are paying for everything a divorce attorney does for you, from appearing in court to preparing and filing your documents. Therefore, it’s worth trying divorce mediation that is cost-effective and less lengthy.
Legal state laws
Each state has laws and legal requirements for an online divorce. The paperwork may be available on the official website of the state. However, some states require filing additional documents for the care of young children and separate forms for custody settlements.
You can file for a divorce online in all US states, but the requirements of divorce eligibility may differ depending on the separate state laws.
If you have all your documents on hand and have already discussed everything with your spouse, online filing for a divorce shouldn’t take you longer than an hour. The process is automatic and fast. The only time you will be required to wait is during the approval of your documents by the court.
Is Online Divorce the Right Option for You?
Couples whose marriage didn’t work out for some reason but maintain a friendly relationship between them can benefit from an online divorce. If you have children, you will save them from the stress and seeing parents arguing by getting a virtual divorce.
Online divorce is the right option for spouses agreeing on an uncontested divorce with the ability to communicate with each other. However, couples who disagree on most divorce settlements and have unresolved issues between them should ask for additional help, mainly in the form of an online mediator.
Most online divorce platforms have online mediators that may get included in the divorce process when the spouses can not reach an agreement about the child custody, property division, finances, or else. Online mediators usually require additional charges.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I retract an online divorce process?
Regardless of how you file a divorce, you can stop the process even after filing the papers. The spouse who initially filed for divorce can stop the process by requesting an order of dismissal. Ensure you do this before the paperwork is approved or before the court hearing.
Can online divorce services reject you?
Online divorce services and mediators can guide and educate you through the entire divorce process. However, they can also reject you if you don’t meet their requirements. If both parties cannot agree on certain matters, the mediator can reject their request.
Are mediators and divorce lawyers the same?
Mediators and California divorce lawyers are not synonymous or have the same obligations. A mediator is a trained professional who can help both spouses discuss and negotiate the terms of their divorce in a civil manner. A divorce lawyer represents one spouse and their divorce requirements to reach a settlement.
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It’s important to know the legal requirements of online divorce to ensure you qualify. Getting a divorce online is preferred by some people because it’s stress-free. Traditional divorce can last longer, cost more and cause tremendous pain for everyone involved.
Luckily, you can contact online divorce services to help with the formalities. Getting a divorce online can be simple if one spouse doesn’t decide to contest.