It doesn’t have to be financially painful to get a divorce.There are many ways to lower the cost of a divorce.A simplified or summary divorce procedure is possible for you and your spouse.Because you have no children together or assets, this procedure makes divorce fast.If you don’t qualify for a summary divorce, you can still work out issues on your own and file for an uncontested divorce.Communication is the key to making divorce cheap.If you and your spouse can agree on how to divide parenting time, divorce can be cheap.
Step 1: If this option is available, check it out.
If you don’t have any children or real estate with your spouse, you can get a “simplified” or “summary” divorce.Depending on your state, the requirements will be precise.You can ask the court clerk if you can get a simple divorce.He or she will tell you about the divorce options.The clerk should give you a list of requirements if there is a simplified divorce procedure.
Step 2: You need to make sure you meet the requirements.
The state will require many things in order to get a simple divorce.You will need to go through a regular divorce if you don’t satisfy all of them.You and your spouse do not have children together.The wife is not pregnant.You don’t own any real estate.You have only been married a short time.If you have been married less than five years in California, you can get a summary dissolution.You must have been married for eight years or less in Illinois.One of you has lived in the state for a while.One spouse must have been a resident in Florida for at least six months.You don’t own a lot of property.You and your spouse might own a couple of cars and furniture even if you don’t own real estate.In order to get a simplified divorce, most states limit how much you can own together.The limit in California is $41,000.The total amount can’t be more than $50,000 in Illinois.Other requirements are set by the state.
Step 3: Get the forms.
The forms that you can use for a simple divorce should have been printed by the court.It is easy to get divorced without a lawyer.If you fill in the information, you can file the forms with the court clerk.If the forms have been posted as PDFs, you can check online.
Step 4: The paperwork needs to be filled out.
The paperwork should be filled out by you and your spouse.Use ink to print.You can use a typewriter.You can avoid disputes if you work together, and both of you can be sure that you filled out the forms correctly.Make sure that each spouse has plenty of time to go over the forms and make changes if you can’t fill them out together.You will need to divide your property if you meet together.If you sign the petition, you’ll be asked who owns what property and what joint debts you have.
Step 5: The forms need you to sign them.
Make a couple copies of the forms by signing the original.You might have to get the forms notarized.You can get a form notarized at the court clerk’s office.If you want to get a form notarized, you need to sign it.Bring your own identification.A valid driver’s license or passport is enough.
Step 6: The forms should be filed.
You have to sign the forms for the court clerk.You will have to go to the courthouse together in some states.The clerk could ask you questions.Depending on your state, you may need to appear before a judge.
Step 7: Pay for things.
You need to pay to file the petition in order to make the divorce final.The court clerk can give you the fee amount and acceptable methods of payment.The court can waive the fee if you can’t afford it.
Step 8: Take it easy.
A quick divorce can be costly.Child custody arrangements will need to be decided by a court.The judge will need to divide the property if you and your spouse own it.You and your spouse can agree on certain matters, but a judge always needs to agree to them.A judge might not approve of your proposed child custody agreement if you rush through your divorce.The judge might reject it, slowing down your divorce.You should set aside time to discuss the details of the divorce with your spouse.
Step 9: Talk to your spouse.
To keep a divorce cheap, you need to come to an agreement with your spouse about the division of child custody and property.When emotions run high, remember to show your spouse that you are listening.Don’t interrupt and make eye contact.Make sure you understand what your spouse is saying.You can ask your spouse if they understand what was shared.Don’t judge.If you are upset by your spouse’s demands, you can ask why they think he or she deserves it.Try to be as relaxed as possible.Don’t sit with your arms crossed or away from your spouse.
Step 10: If it’s necessary, seek mediation.
If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, then you should seek the help of a mediator.A neutral third party who listens to both sides explain their disagreement helps to guide you to a solution you both can accept.A judge is not a mediator.He or she helps the parties see how they can work together.The cost of mediation is less than a divorce.A full-scale custody battle in court could cost $100,000.The average cost for a mediation is around $3,000.There are mediation programs that divorcing couples can use.Ask if you can stop in.It might be free if your courthouse has a community based mediation program.You can ask your local or state bar association if it has a list of mediators.
Step 11: Take part in mediation.
If you approach divorce mediation with an open mind, it will be successful.It is not possible to insist on only getting your way.If you are willing to compromise, mediation will be successful.You will probably get a chance to make a statement during mediation.Your spouse will do the same.The mediation will try to find out where you and your spouse agree and disagree.There are several sessions that mediation can take.You and your spouse can gather information after the first session.The mediation will help you and your spouse divide the property.There is an agreement on the following.The cost of your divorce will balloon if you can’t, because lawyers will get involved.
Step 12: You can get the court forms.
You can use printed forms for family law matters.The forms can be obtained from the court clerk or the self-help center.You can check with the local legal aid organization to see if they have printed out the forms.You can find a legal aid organization by looking in your phone book.The Legal Services Corporation has a website at www.lsc.gov.You can enter your address by clicking on the link at the top.
Step 13: A child custody agreement should be drafted.
You and your spouse will need to come up with a child custody agreement if you have children.The two of you come to an agreement about the child custody schedule in this document.You can use the forms provided by the courts.The child custody agreement needs to be as detailed as possible.Information about holidays, vacations, and how children will be transported from one parent to the other should be included.You will be able to prevent disputes further down the road if you are more detailed.You can download a sample parenting plan from the Montgomery County, Maryland court.If you have an agreement with the other parent, be sure to revise it.
Step 14: Assets and debts should be divided.
You have to tell the judge how you will divide the assets and debts.Someone needs to take ownership of the mortgage if you bought a house together.Some courts have forms that you can use to list your assets.If you write a list of assets and debts, you can assign ownership to them.Go through your real property and personal property.You should try to find a division that works for both of you.You have to divide your debts.One of you will take responsibility for the loan if both of your names are on it.Write a Divorce Settlement Agreement explains how to write up a division of debts and assets.
Step 15: Decide if there will be alimony.
You should come to an agreement about how long you will have to pay the other money.Alimony can last for a long time.If you agree to pay your spouse money for the next few years, he will be able to finish his college education.The alimony is short-term.You can waive any right to alimony.It can be cheaper to waive alimony.You can’t change your mind after the divorce is done.If you and your spouse agree to alimony, you will need to include it in your divorce settlement agreement.
Step 16: All other forms need to be completed.
There are many different forms you have to fill out, in addition to the petition for divorce.All relevant forms should be completed by you.You could also need financial affidavits.A detailed breakdown of the couple’s finances is likely to be requested by the court.This form could be included in the divorce petition.There is a declaration under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.You have to state where the children have been living.
Step 17: You can file a divorce petition.
Take several copies of the joint petition, as well as supporting documents, to the court clerk.The paperwork should be kept by each spouse.The original should be filed by the court clerk.To file the petition, you will have to pay a filing fee.If you can’t afford the fee, ask the court clerk to waive it.
Step 18: Appear before the judge.
The judge needs to approve the division of assets and debts.A hearing should be scheduled.Before you go to court, be sure to read your petition and divorce settlement agreement.The judge might ask about your parenting plan.Discuss why you think the plan is in your child’s best interest.During the divorce proceeding, try to look your best.You might want to wear a suit for men.Women should try to wear a suit.A conservative dress can be worn by women.Address a Judge in Court has tips on how to talk to a judge.
Step 19: You can compare prices.
You don’t have to hire the person who helped your brother or sister get divorced if you need a lawyer.You can compare lawyers’ prices.One way to find the cheapest legal help is to schedule multiple free consultations.If you call your state bar association, you can get referrals for a divorce lawyer.Give a young divorce lawyer a chance.A lower fee can be charged by lawyers who have been out of law school for a few years.Although a younger lawyer might not be as experienced, he or she is obligated to seek out the help of a more experienced attorney if any questions arise.
Step 20: Consider legal services that are not bundled.
You need a lawyer for a divorce.You can still manage the costs by hiring a lawyer.You may only need a lawyer to look over your paperwork or to represent you in court.Only those tasks can be performed by the lawyer.Unbundled legal services are now allowed in most states.During the initial consultation, you should ask the lawyer if this is an option for you.
Step 21: Don’t contact your lawyer too much.
When using the lawyer’s time, you need to be careful.Each 10-minute phone call to your lawyer can add up to a lot of time.Write down any questions you have about the divorce in a notebook.You can gather your questions in one place if you don’t call your lawyer.If you have more than 10 questions, you can schedule a phone call and get answers to all of them at once.Don’t call your lawyer if you want to complain about your spouse.The lawyer is charging for time.Speak to other people.If you want a friendly ear to complain to, look for someone other than your lawyer.
Step 22: Your court has a family law center.
There are self-help centers for family law cases in some courts.If you want someone at the self-help center to look over your paperwork, you could hire a lawyer.The types of services provided by self-help centers vary.The staff will only look at your forms if you have filled them out correctly.Legal questions can be answered by the staff in other self-help centers.Call or stop in to find out if the court has a self-help center.