Divorce Options for Every Budget
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80% percent of divorces are filed by women
1 year is the average length of time to complete divorce proceedings
1st most common reason cited for divorce is lack of commitment
How the Divorce Process Works
One or both partners in a marriage decides to file for divorce. Typically the first step is filing a divorce summons. The paperwork is filed by in a state court in the county of residence. Ultimately, these papers are served to the other partner, who signs the complaint with agreement or disagreement on terms. If there is disagreement, then the responding partner can counter-file with different information in the petition. Both spouses need to document assets and liabilities and decide on how to divide assets and custody of children. A family law professional will fight for your side if disagreements occur, either through negotiations with your spouse’s attorney or in a family court proceeding.
Cost of Divorce
This is probably the most common question asked. The best answer is “it depends”. Every family is different.
- Agree on terms – you may have an amicable split where both parties agree, and no children or expensive assets are involved. The costs can be as low as several hundred dollars to file and submit papers with your county or state.
- Disagree on terms – one or both partners disagree and need the legal system to define fair distribution of marital assets and child custody. Commonly these families have children and homes to split up. Family lawyers bill hourly, so the more you and your spouse agree on terms, the less the process will cost.
One rule of thumb is that “it costs as much to divorce as the marriage ceremony itself”, which translates to approximately $15-30k for an average divorce. This rate, of course, is highly variable depending on your unique family situation.
Role of an Attorney
You are going through an emotional and sensitive process and will benefit from pre-divorce wisdom. The attorney advises you on preparing assets, credit cards, child support and home rights. The attorney will file the summons with the court and guide you through next steps. They will go with you to any court depositions, hearings, and conferences and support you in settlement negotiations.
Couples with simple, uncontested cases may want to compare do-it-yourself online divorce options versus a lawyer and decide if a divorce lawyer is necessary. Only uncontested divorces from couples who fully agree on terms will qualify for online divorces.
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