Just about anything can be done online – shopping, learning, banking – it’s no wonder then the internet is becoming an increasingly popular place to turn to when getting divorced.
With the assistance of online services that guide users every step of the way and the growing number of state court’s that allow e-filing, it’s never been easier to initiate divorce proceedings.
Whether they choose to use a fee-based website or take the complete do-it-yourself approach by filing through their state’s website, the ability to avoid court combined with potential cost-savings make online divorces an attractive option to traditional proceedings for many couples.
Online Divorce Eligibility
Although each divorce is different, the majority of spouses will have to agree on four main things before officially ending their marriage:
- Property division
- Debt division
- Custody of children, if any
- Child support and/or spousal support
Whether or not they can agree on these matters makes a difference in how their divorce is classified and whether they will need the help of a Pintar Albiston divorce attorney to reach a settlement.
For those spouses who cannot agree, their divorce is considered contested, that is, they require outside intervention to reach an agreement. Contested divorces typically arise when financial stakes are so high that each spouse needs to consult with an attorney to protect their best interests.
Couples who can mutually agree on issues go through what’s known as an uncontested divorce. These spouses are able to work out important considerations, like support and property division, without the help of attorneys or judges.
Only those couples who are able to come to an agreement on their own are good candidates for online divorces since they may not require attorneys, arbitration, or other sources to help them settle.
State E-filing Laws
Each state has unique laws that determine under what circumstances individuals can electronically submit documents to court, known as e-filing. Since divorces are granted at the state level, couples should check the National Center for State Courts Electronic Filing Database to determine whether or not they have the option to file for divorce electronically in their state.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Online Divorces
When couples agree on the terms of their divorce and reside in a state that allows electronic filing, they may proceed with an online divorce. But before heading online, spouses should recognize both the benefits and potential drawbacks to determine whether or not an online divorce is the best option for their situation.
Online divorces are often thought of as quick and easy. This is true for just about any uncontested divorce but filing online can make the process move even more quickly through the court system. In addition to time saved, the cost savings can be quite considerable when couples mutually agree on their divorce options without the need of costly litigation or trials.
When couples turn online looking for an inexpensive divorce option, it may end up costing them in the the long run if they end up with an unbalanced settlement. Without an attorney for guidance, important considerations may be overlooked or one spouse’s wishes may not be truly reflected as part of the divorce decree.
Consider Consequences, Not Cost
Before heading online to end a marriage, spouses should seriously consider whether or not it makes sense for their particular situation. Once a divorce is finalized, proposed changes to a settlement must go before a judge and are not always easily granted. That’s why it is important to get it right the first time around whether that means hiring a divorce attorney for guidance or using one of the many popular online options.