Divorce can be a stressful and overwhelming prospect—and that's even before you start factoring in money. But there are ways to keep costs relatively low, particularly if you're willing to take on some of the work yourself. The right choice will depend on your situation, but we're here for you with some purse-pleasing pointers on parting.
If you and your soon-to-be-ex agree on the issues in your divorce—for example, how you'll split up property and share custody—uncontested divorce is a possibility for you.
If your case is uncontested, the cheapest route to divorce will be to truly DIY. Many states offer fill-in-the-blank forms for uncontested divorce that you and your spouse can fill out and file. Full disclosure: Losing the lawyer and picking up the paperwork yourself won't be easy, but it will save you money as you'll only pay for court fees and costs.
For couples who agree on the issues in their case but are reluctant to DIY the whole divorce, an online divorce service could be a good, cost-effective alternative.
Typically ranging between $150-900, these services will provide the forms you'll need along with instructions. Some offer a professional review of your documents, or even file them for you with the court.
DivorceNet's Online Divorce starts at just $139. It's simple and streamlined, and it comes with a money-back guarantee that your forms will be approved by the court. Check it out here.
Sometimes working it out just doesn't work out. But this doesn't have to mean an expensive court battle—mediation could be a more affordable compromise. By taking this route, if you can agree on all the terms of your divorce with your spouse, then you'll typically just need to put them in a contract and present it to the judge. Mediation isn't just easier on the pocketbook either—it can save you time. In most cases, you'll only have to attend a single court hearing.
A lot of people try mediation first in an effort to save money, and courts actually often order couples to at least attempt mediation anyway. In this court-ordered scenario, a free or low-cost mediator will be appointed. Private mediation—where people choose to mediate rather than being ordered to do so—gives you more say over the process, though, and it typically has a higher success rate.
DivorceNet has a divorce mediation service that starts with a 30-minute risk-free conversation with a mediator and ends with your divorce documents filed for you. You can schedule a free conversation with a divorce mediator here.
Sometimes you simply need a lawyer's help to get your divorce done. Depending on your situation, you might only need a few hours of their time. Or you might need much more, and that's where the costs can really skyrocket.
Depending on your income level, the legal aid service in your state might be able to help with your divorce. This covers free information, instructions, and court forms. Some organizations provide attorneys throughout the divorce, especially in extreme cases. If not, there's a chance they could put you in touch with an attorney who will take your case pro bono (free of charge). (More information on legal aid and pro bono representation here.)
While more than two couples in America get divorced every 90 seconds, no two cases are identical. Ultimately, what's right for you will depend on your situation. But reading up on the relevant costs, the time requirements, and what's available in your state will help you make your decision. Good luck!