If you and your spouse have decided to pursue different paths in life, you may feel overwhelmed by the divorce process. You may worry about the cost and hassle of hiring a lawyer and going to court. Fortunately, you can file divorce papers online in many situations — without hiring an attorney.
1. Find support and resources before you start
You may not know how to start preparing and filing do-it-yourself divorce papers. That’s okay! There are many online divorce paperwork resources, forms, templates, and guides to help you get up to speed.
A good place to start is your local state court’s website (look for the Family Chamber or Family Court). You may want to make an appointment to discuss your situation with an attorney before filing the divorce papers online. Free consultations can provide valuable advice, even if you do not need further representation.
2. Find out where to submit files
States typically require at least one spouse to be a resident of the state who has lived there for a period of time. Across the country, this residency requirement varies from as little as six weeks to as long as two years. In some cases, e.g. However, for example, for spouses in the military, it may be possible or necessary to file for divorce in a state where neither party physically resides. Whether you file divorce papers online or in person, make sure you do so in a court that has jurisdiction to resolve your case.
3. See if you qualify for a simplified divorce
Some courts have expedited procedures to handle simple, uncontested divorce cases that do not involve minor children or active-duty military personnel. There is often a cap on how much marital property is eligible, limiting the process to cases of lesser value. If your jurisdiction offers simplified divorce and you meet the requirements, this can be a quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive option. You and your spouse will complete, sign and file the divorce papers online and simply wait for the court to issue an order ending the marriage.
4. Understand any applicable separation requirements or wait times
Many states do not require spouses to be physically separated before filing for divorce. However, others require spouses to live apart for a period of time before filing for divorce.
If your state has a separation rule, it may only apply to certain types of divorces. For example, you may be able to file for divorce immediately if you resort to at-fault “reasons” such as domestic violence, rather than waiting a separation period. You must wait for any applicable separation period to expire before filing for divorce online; Papers submitted too early may result in your case being dismissed.
A “wait” is another type of mandatory delay. In some states, the court may issue a final order, or judgment, fairly soon after you file your divorce documents online. In other cases, the court will not schedule a hearing or issue a resolution until a specified period of time has elapsed. This “waiting period” varies between 10 and 365 days.
5. Use templates and forms
If you can agree with your spouse on the key issues surrounding your divorce, a do-it-yourself divorce option can be cheaper, easier, and less stressful than a traditional divorce. Most courts offer divorce forms as downloadable documents (including New York) that you can print and fill out or submit through an online system. However, figuring out which forms to use and how to fill them out correctly can be confusing. An online divorce service helps to solve this problem.
Online divorce services have checklists and questionnaires to provide the content you need for your application. Fillable forms and sample documents, such as A template, such as a divorce agreement template, can help you ensure you are using the right documents and preparing them correctly. These programs will make your do-it-yourself divorce easier than ever.
Get help filing divorce papers online
When you are ready to start the process, consider using an online divorce service. These useful tools provide guides and step-by-step guides on how to complete the entire process, links to the correct forms for your location, and instructions on how to file divorce papers online. Many can also put you in touch with legal experts to answer specific questions or provide advice at a much lower cost than hiring a full-service divorce attorney. By taking care of some or all of the paperwork yourself, you save money and time – and you can be sure that your case is in good hands.
Ready to start?
Connecting with an online divorce service can help you feel more secure when filing divorce papers online. Take the stress out of the divorce process – start now.
Disclaimer: This article provides general legal information, but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be construed as establishing an attorney-client relationship. If you have any legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.