Filing For Your Own Divorce

My last guest, Donna shared how she ended up filing for her divorce without using an attorney when her STBX started stalling and she didn’t want to spend money on additional attorneys fees. She made the point that she’d been meeting with an attorney so she knew her legal position, she and her STBX were agreed on custody and on the division of assets.

I have met other people who’ve been able to figure out how to file for divorce on your own and I admire them for doing so. I look at court orders and wonder how you’re supposed to figure out what goes where even if they do come with instructions and what happens if you put in the wrong information? I know you can go to your local courthouse and find someone to talk to but that has got to be time-consuming especially when you’re already juggling looking after children and working.

At the same time I was writing Donna’s story I was contacted by MyDivorcePapers which promises a one hour divorce without attorneys for $149 with court approval guaranteed and a money back guarantee. Very interesting but sounds too good to be true.

To find out more about MyDivorcePapers I contacted founder Jason McClain and had a great discussion. The following is a summary of our discussion – I’ve paraphrased Jason’s responses so please don’t take them as word-for-word answers:

Who is The Typical Client?  About 60 percent of clients are female earning up to $40,000 a year. Male clients have a slightly higher income. The typical length of marriage is seven years and they are in an uncontested divorce situation or don’t know where their STBX is. The service is currently limited to people in the U.S. and Canada.

How Would I Know MyDivorcePapers Was Right For Me? There’s an upfront screening survey that each client works through and the answers to that survey determine eligibility. Experience so far shows that fewer than 4 percent are not qualified.

How Does the Process Work? Clients are asked to create an account, pay the fee and then answer an online questionnaire. Once the questionnaire is completed, all forms needed to file for divorce are generated by MyDivorcePapers.

Do You Have to Complete the Questionnaire in One Session? The questionnaire can be completed in multiple sessions so if you don’t have all the information at hand, you can save your work, log out and then log in again when you have the information. A self-mediation tool is also included which means that if during the questionnaire you discover an asset or a debt that you’d overlooked, then you and your STBX can discuss how it is to be handled and then come back to complete the questionnaire.

Are There Are Any Situations MyDivorcePapers Can’t Handle? It’s really about whether or not anything is being contested. If the spouses have agreed how everything should be divided, then MyDivorcePapers can create the required legal paperwork.

What Happens After the Legal Papers Are Generated? The client will need to print the papers since most jurisdictions are not yet handling electronic filings. Clients are given detailed step-by-step instructions for how and where to file the papers along with instructions for how to serve your STBX. Note that court filing fees are not included in the MyDivorcePapers fee.

MyDivorcePapers website has a state-by-state listing of divorce laws so you can go to your state and get a basic overview of topics such as residency requirements, child custody, property distribution, spousal support and child support. A review of these should give you a sense for whether or not you should be considering an online divorce.

I do want to reiterate that one spouse suggesting there’s no need for attorneys can be a huge red flag that the proposed settlement isn’t equitable or reasonable. Reviewing your state’s divorce laws should clue you into this and if you are suspicious then, you absolutely must seek competent legal advice.

Given that one of the most common complaints I hear about divorce is the legal fees, then I think it makes perfect sense to take a look at this option and see if it will work for you. It seems like a viable option for managing your legal budget.

Did you file for your own divorce? How was the process? Would you consider using a service like this?

Disclosure: This review is unsolicited. I have signed on as a marketing affiliate for MyDivorcePapers because I do believe this is a viable option for some people. Being an affiliate means that I receive a commission for people referred from my site and who become paying clients of MyDivorcePapers. For that reason, if you do use this company, I would love to hear about your experience.


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