Are Online Divorces Legitimate
Online divorces can be just as legitimate and just as good of an idea as filing in-person at the courthouse, if your state allows it. Most states allow at least some of the divorce papers to be filed online, as well as the download of printable divorce forms from your state or county court’s website. If your divorce is uncontested, filing online may be the way to go. Getting divorced online is a common way for couples to end their marriage. Many companies provide divorce forms online. These websites prepare forms for you based on the information you provide. Some have attorneys or paralegals review the papers. Others are the do-it-yourself type where you fill out the forms yourself. Some states allow you to file for divorce online. These states have specific requirements for online divorce filing, so check your state’s court site to see whether your state allows e-filing for divorce.
Divorce requirements can vary from county to county, so you may be able to e-file your papers in certain counties but not in others. If you’re unsure if your county and state allow filing a divorce online, call the clerk’s office in your county. Even if you use an attorney for divorce, the attorney may be required to file for divorce online in your state. If you’re filing an uncontested divorce, third-party sites that specialize in filing online divorces can help. Your divorce is uncontested if you and your spouse have settled the major issues such as custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of property and division of debt. Contested divorces can be difficult and can require a trial. While you may want to get divorced quickly, you shouldn’t do so where there are unresolved issues between you and your spouse. It’s great to have sites that can prepare a divorce, but you have to live with your divorce agreement that will be difficult to change later on. Using an attorney for a contested divorce is the right thing to do and the only thing that makes sense. Additionally, you can obtain documents for an online divorce but the document company does not act as your attorney. You may want to have an attorney review your documents, especially if your case involves a lot of property or involves expensive property. In these instances, filing for divorce without an attorney is probably not a good idea.
How to Get a Divorce Online
Your First Step is to call Ascent Law LLC right now. We do all the online divorce work for you.
To get a divorce online, you need to do the following:
• Decide if you’re going to use an online document company or your state’s court site. A court website allows you to prepare forms on your computer but you have to do it yourself. Save your files as a PDF file and make several copies of all documents.
• Make sure your divorce is uncontested and that you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of your divorce. Ensure that custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, division of assets and division of debt have been settled.
• Include all of the details of your divorce in your divorce papers. Make sure your vital information is included, such as names, addresses, social security numbers, the date and location of your marriage, the names and birthdates of your children, and what property you are dividing. Include the grounds for divorce such as whether it is a no-fault divorce.
• Fill out all required forms. You can usually find the forms you need on your court’s website, but court sites are tricky. Different forms can be required within states, so make sure you prepare the all of the forms you need for an uncontested divorce in your county.
• Check your state’s court site or ask your county clerk how to file your divorce paperwork. Pay any fees required by your county and state. These fees are in addition to fees for document preparation. File the papers online, or take them to your county clerk at the courthouse if you can’t file them online.
• Have your spouse served with the divorce papers, if required. This usually means service by someone more than 18 years old or by using a professional process server. You cannot usually serve the papers yourself. If you’re not sure how to serve papers, use a process server.
• Prepare a divorce agreement that you and your spouse can live with. You may want to use an attorney for this part of the divorce so your agreement can be prepared correctly. This way there is less of a chance you’ll have to make court motions years from now unless there are major changes, such as wanting to move out of state with the children
• Make sure all necessary supplemental forms are added to your original papers or ask your attorney to complete the papers.
• Getting a divorce online can be an easier alternative to a traditional uncontested divorce and can help prevent your divorce from becoming an emotionally painful experience by removing a lot of the formalities of the court process.
Uncontested online divorce services can be fast and easy, but not all divorces lend themselves to this process. There may be certain factors or situations which would add a level of complication to the divorce. You should consider an online divorce if your marriage meets any of the following criteria:
• You and your spouse both mutually want a divorce.
• You and your spouse can reach agreement on how to allocate complex financial assets and debts, such as retirement accounts and real estate. You may need to engage a Certified Financial Advisor.
• You and your spouse do not own any significant financial assets or real property.
• You and your spouse can reach agreement on alimony and child support.
• You and your spouse can reach agreement on creating a co-parenting schedule.
You should seek additional help from a family law attorney or mediator if:
• Your spouse does not want to get divorced/is contesting the divorce.
• You are worried about the safety and security of yourself or your children.
• You and your spouse do not agree on complex financial matters, such as retirement accounts or real estate.
• You and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, particularly on issues like alimony, community property, child support, and creating a parenting plan.
• Child custody matters are impacted by other factors, such as new job offers out of town or serious mental or physical conditions of the child.
• Co-parent communication
• Co-parent schedule
• Co-parent calendar
• Use of a co-parenting app
• Division of any assets, including the family home, jewelry retirement accounts and other investment
• Division of divorce debt
With pandemic quarantines, many divorce attorneys and mediators are working online and offering services via video-conferencing. In addition, several states have not required parties who have an agreement on all issues to appear in court in most cases while other states usual did want one or both there for the final hearing. Again, Covid has changed the landscape and with the courts closed in so many states, the process has been simplified to allow online filing and final hearings without appearing in court or by appearing via video conference. All in all, the vast majority of couples can process their divorce completely online without ever setting foot in a courtroom and the technology only continues to get better! If you are processing all of your paperwork yourself through an online service, and submitting any type of agreement to the court, it is always a good practice to have an attorney review it first. These are legal documents that will have an impact on your life, and that of your children, for many years to come, so it makes sense to make sure that agreement is what you want it to be. You can likely meet with that attorney online and just pay for the hour or two it takes them to review and discuss with you. Just answer as attorneys-on-call and via chat that can answer basic legal questions for a small fee.
Benefits of downloading your divorce papers online, and filing them online, include:
• Less expensive than a traditional divorce with lawyers
• Less drama and conflict. If you and your spouse can come to terms without a judge or attorney, everyone wins!
Therefore, there is really much more involved in resolving a divorce in-person or online than just filling out the paperwork, although that is a part of the process. The parties will also need to find a way to come to an agreement so that they can finalize that paperwork.
Each state has its own terminology for the different papers required to file and complete the divorce, but these are typically involved:
• Petition for dissolution of marriage: This kicks off the divorce, listing all assets and children involved in the proceedings, and are generally served by one party to the other, with a request for response.
• Summons: These papers inform each party that the divorce has been initiated, and tells each that they should not change insurance policies or joint financial accounts, or sell any property.
• Custody agreement, or divorce settlement: Hopefully, you and your spouse will not go to court to settle your divorce, but instead agree to terms of the split either with attorneys or between the two of you. These terms are documented in a divorce settlement, and filed with your divorce papers.
• Divorce decree: This is the final, signed and sealed divorce document.
• Marriage licensed / information about when and where you married.
• Financial documents, including recent pay stubs, tax returns, deeds and mortgages, debts
• Divorce decree: This is the final, signed and sealed divorce document.
Where can I get divorce papers online?
Call Ascent Law to get started. If you have hired an attorney or mediator to process your divorce, they will provide divorce papers for you; all while charging you a high hourly rate. You can get divorce papers often for free for yourself, by contacting your local courts. Many states provide online divorce papers for free or for a low price online. Whether you print free divorce papers from your the local court house’s online website, your attorney emails them to you, and you print at home, or an online divorce services provides them, these are typically going to be the same, official divorce documents that you would get in-person from your local court house. There should be no problem with the state recognizing your divorce papers if you print free divorce papers you get online, as long as if they are from a reputable source.
If you and your divorce have an uncontested divorce, you will sit down together or with a mediator and work out the details of the separation and file together. However, you may choose to file for divorce in your local courthouse and serve your spouse papers. Each state has different requirements for proof of service, so check with a local clerk, but you may document that your soon-to-be ex was indeed served divorce papers by:
• Certified mail
• Process server — this can be a professional service, a local law enforcement office (police or sheriff) or you can ask a friend. Any process server will have to sign and have notarized an affidavit that they served the other party.
• By publication. Take out a classified ad in your local newspaper — this is cold, but may be useful if you do not know where your spouse lives
Advantages & Disadvantages to Online Divorce Services
If you do happen to find yourself in a position where an online divorce service could provide legitimate documentation in court, there are still other advantages and disadvantages to consider.
Advantages to online divorces services include:
• Reduced cost and avoided fees
• Expedited service and procedure
• Greater control and flexibility over reporting responsibilities
Disadvantages to online divorces services include:
• Generic and invalid paperwork not admissible to court
• Narrow or incomplete scope of state divorce laws
• Loss of rights, properties, or protections not addressed in the documentation.
Utah Online Divorce Lawyer
When you need legal help with an online divorce in Utah, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506