Filing an online divorce
The number of states that have online filing support on their sites for divorce remains limited, but you can find out if your state has one by visiting the website of your local county or district court. If your state does not have an e-filing system for divorce, you may still be able to access and download documents from the court’s website.
After you complete the paperwork, you may file them at your local Clerk’s Office in person, by mail, or by fax (depending on the jurisdiction). In some states, you may not need to ever step into a courtroom after you file for an uncontested divorce. In order to go through the process of completing an online divorce, there are a few requirements that you need to know to qualify.
Requirements to file an Online Divorce
- To qualify for to file a divorce online, you and your spouse must to agree to the divorce and are okay with working together. This means that your divorce cannot be contested by your spouse, and both of you have settled on all the property, support, childcare, and financial matters. If both of you agree to an Uncontested divorce, you’ll be able to go ahead and use an online filing service no matter what state your in.
- If your spouse does not agree on all items regarding the divorce and is being difficult on the subject, try using a divorce mediator (Benefits of a mediator) to ensure that both of you are able to come to a reasonable win-win outcome. By using a mediator, this will also save you both thousands of dollars by not having to get attorneys.
- If your divorce is contested, it’s in both of your best interest to go ahead and hire a lawyer.
What does it mean to file online?
If you’re interested in filing a divorce online, it’s important that you understand that there are two main ways of doing so. Filing through your local county’s website or using an online divorce service.
Let’s discuss these two options further: A very small amount of states have what is called, e-filing, which allows you to fill out the paperwork through their online portal, and you’ll be able to pay their fee when you submit your paperwork on their site. This is definitely the ideal way to do it, but it is not yet available in over 90% of states and makes going this route more of a headache.
PRO: Saves you time and allows you to finish your paperwork in one place.
PRO: Saves you money
CON: Don’t offer any assistance regarding your unique situation and making a mistake on the paperwork because you did not understand something, could be costly if you’re dealing with contested divorce, children or a request for support.
CON: Not as user-friendly as paid other options If your state does not offer e-filing, you can simply use a online divorce service to help you easily fill out the paperwork and have it reviewed to make sure everything is filled out correctly. These services are very popular on the web because they cut the time down to a few hours instead of days of you trying to figure out how to fill out the paperwork if you downloaded them from your states website.
How does it work?
The process is very similar across all online divorce paperwork services. You create your account and follow a question prompts that walk you through all the needed forms based on your circumstances. Depending how you answer the questions, follow up questions or additional forms will be automatically filled out. Once you are done, you are able to download your paperwork and file it at your local courthouse.
How much does it cost?
These services range in price ($159 – $2500) based on their level of services they provide in addition to helping you fill out the paperwork. Some of these companies include services like, a review by a case manager, divorce libraries of tips and how-to’s, calculators for support, serving your paperwork, phone support, filing paperwork for you and much more. Finding the right company comes down to your personal needs and circumstances.
PRO: Saves you days and in some cases weeks.
PRO: Get professional to review you paperwork
PRO: Additional Tools
PRO: Get your filing questions answered
CON: So many different companies to go with without know which has great service
CON: Fake Reviews for some companies have been seen online
Are online divorces legal?
Many people find it unbelievable that a person can complete the paperwork and file for a divorce online, but that is exactly the case and it’s 100% legal. As mentioned above a few times, not all states offer the e-filings but there are services that will take your online divorce papers into your local court for you.
Are These Services Safe?
All of the sites we recommend are encrypted and very high level of security built into their products. You will never need to worry about either your information being sold or being hacked into.
How long do online divorces take?
Online divorces or divorces filed not in person are all subject to your states divorce laws. Every state has its own requirements and one of those requirements is the length of time it takes to get a divorce (View your state’s divorce process here).
State filing fees aren’t included
It’s very important to understand that many of the online divorce services do not include state filing fees. This means that you’ll have to pay an additional fee to your local courthouse to have your paperwork filed and processed in your county. Typical court filing costs are from $200 – $700, depending greatly on the state that you will be filing in. You can find your state’s filing charges by simply Googling: Divorce filing fee.
Like Another Service Not Mentioned?
No matter which service you choose for your online divorce papers, make sure that they meet the following requirements before signing up.
- They offer at least telephone support: There are a lot of these online divorce paper services and some of them do not offer telephone support to help you fill out the paperwork when-when you run into an issue. They will offer email support but sometimes its best to speak with someone by phone. Try to make sure that the provider that you are considering offers you a way to talk by phone.
- Ensure divorce forms are updated & Guaranteed: This is another big issue that some online providers have. If the provider does not have a guarantee to ensure that the divorce paperwork is updated and the state will accept them, run the other way. This is a big no-no in this industry, so make sure that there is a guarantee because states change things all the time.
- A great online reputation: This is much easier to figure out because you can simply do a search for the company name and the word review behind it, and you will get a great idea of how good a company is. This seems like a no-brainer but so many people skip this step and find themselves with a crappy service.
- Offers What you Need: If you need additional support or don’t know where to turn for support, don’t be afraid of going with a more costly option to make sure everything is taken care of the right way. Review features on the service you’re interested in and make sure your needs will be taken care of. Take a look at our reviews to get a better idea as to what is on the market now.
- Divorce is a legal procedure and, more precisely, a lawsuit brought by one spouse against the other. Although an attorney is not a requirement for divorce, legal counsel may be advisable in more complicated divorces.
- In most jurisdictions, you must file a Petition for Divorce (or similar form) along with supporting documents with the local court to begin the divorce process. Check the website of your local clerk’s office to see if they allow you to e-file your petition.
- While many states have an expedited process for uncontested divorces, this may be more complicated for couples with children or larger estates.
- You will need to pay a filing fee when you file for divorce. This is typically a few hundred dollars, but many courts allow you to petition for a fee waiver if you are without funds. If you file online, you will need to pay the fee using a valid credit or debit card.
- Filing for divorce in the United States can be difficult without expert assistance. Try using an online divorce service to make the process easier. At only $159, 3StepDivorce.com can save you thousands in legal fees.
- If any questions come up during or before filing for a divorce online, ask a lawyer online at JustAnswer.com.
- There is almost always a residency requirement to file for divorce, so learn the details from your local court.
- There is often a minimum period for a divorce to finalize depending on which state you live in. While officially, this may range from 30 to 180 days, it is usually a much longer wait due to judicial caseloads.
- Most states will grant a divorce without considering any spouse’s wrongdoing, i.e. no fault. If you are seeking a no-fault divorce, you must typically only demonstrate that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.
- A handful of states still allow you to divorce your spouse based on their immoral behavior. The most common fault grounds for divorce include: