Not every marriage has to end in an expense court brawl.
If you’re ready to divorce, you’re both on relatively good terms, and don’t have complicated assets, there’s a good chance you can split up without the big to-do – and hefty price tag – of a traditional divorce.
Thankfully there are quality online divorce services that can help you with this complicated process, for an affordable fee. 3 Step Divorce is one.
First, answers to common questions regarding how much does it cost to get a divorce:
How do I file for divorce with an attorney?
If you use a divorce attorney to end your marriage, the average cost is $15,000 nationwide. Typically, each spouse hires their own lawyer, and between the two parties, an agreement is reached, and then filed in court.
If there is an impasse, divorce cases can go to trial. This is very expensive, and time-consuming, and often leaves a family's future in the hands of a single, third-party: A judge.
Sometimes a couple agrees to use one attorney to mediate the agreement, which is a lower-conflict, and more affordable way to divorce. Collaborative divorce is gaining popularity.
How to file for divorce online yourself
If you and your ex don't have many assets, agree on terms of parenting (or don't have children), an online or DIY divorce can be a great option. Online services like those listed below, as well as the trove of quality online information and technology improvements in the courts means that in many cases, couples can agree on terms of the divorce, create the legal documents online, and then either file the papers themselves.
You may also choose to hire a local attorney to file the divorce papers in the courts, or some of the online, DIY divorce products include filing in their fee.
Struggling with finances during your divorce? Most people do! Read How to find quick, hidden money in divorce
What is 3 Step Divorce?
Do-it-yourself divorce — that is, ditching the whole lawyer part — might be the right option for you, and there are several online companies that exist to streamline divorces that shouldn’t be complicated.
One of those companies is 3 Step Divorce, which bills itself as “the original online divorce.”
Their whole goal is to make divorce simple, affordable and fast.
Obviously saving money and avoiding hassle is great, but time is a precious resource.
If you’re ending your marriage, there’s something to be said for getting it behind you as soon as possible so you can start on the next phase of life — whatever that means for you!
How does 3 Step Divorce work?
Here’s how this DIY divorce company works: 3 Step Divorce helps bypass the lawyer’s office and puts you in control.
Its software-based approach to DIY divorce helps you prepare divorce forms that are specific to your state and county.
How to file for divorce online using 3 Step Divorce
- You’ll first fill out your state’s Qualifying Form, which walks you through the account creation process.
- Then you complete an online questionnaire, answering a few non-legal questions about your property, debt, children, and other relevant topics. 3 Step Divorce says most of their customers are able to complete the online questionnaire in less than one hour. Your answers are saved online securely, and you can alter them and reprint them as many times as necessary for no additional cost.
- All the completed divorce papers are then generated. Your paperwork will be mailed to you for free, or you can just print it out when you’re done.
It’s still ultimately your responsibility to make sure your paperwork gets to the right place, and you’ll have to go your county courthouse in person to file your documents.
But 3 Step Divorce can help you get to that point a lot quicker.
More benefits of DIY divorce with 3 Step Divorce
Because of the network of websites associated with 3StepDivorce, you’ll have lots of reading material at your fingertips.
The site will link you to online resources and tools, including a rather exhaustive FAQ page covering topics like domestic violence, divorce prevention, grounds for divorce, child custody and support, property, debt, spousal support, separation agreements, alternative dispute resolution, military-specific divorce, how taxes and bankruptcy factor into divorce, and even pensions and retirement accounts.
3 Step Divorce also has specific info on each state’s divorce criteria.
Here are other resources you’ll have access to when you make an account:
- An online negotiation center to help you and your spouse settle issues.
- A custody and support tracking tool that includes a calendar to help you manage custody, visitation and support, track events and log reports.
- A “personal divorce organizer” to document everything in a calendar and set reminders throughout your divorce process to help you stay on top of things — basically a go-to hub for easy reference.
- An always-growing encyclopedia of divorce terminology.
- A name-change kit if you’ve taken your spouse’s surname and want to make the process of changing your last name after the divorce a bit easier.
- About 40 different downloadable titles that go into more detail on the legal, financial and emotional parts of getting a divorce.
How much does 3 Step Divorce cost?
A do-it-yourself divorce through 3StepDivorce costs about $300, but keep in mind that court fees will add to the overall price of your divorce process.
Those could run as much as $300-$500 depending on where you live.
3 Step Divorce will let you pay a one-time flat fee of $299, or you can break it up into installments, but beware that’ll cost you a little more in the long run.
You can do two monthly payments of $157, three monthly payments of $109 or four monthly payments of $84.
How quickly you’re able to pay the full amount won’t make an impact on how quickly your divorce goes through, which means you won’t have to wait to finish paying the full price before you file for divorce. Whew!
You’ll also have an opportunity to get a little money back: 3 Step Divorce offers a $50 rebate if you file your paperwork with your court within one business day of starting your account — this really showcases just how fast the DIY divorce process can be.
Also, 3 Step Divorce will refund you 100% if your documents aren’t accepted by your local court.
RocketLawyer allows you to buy legal documents like a divorce settlement or separation agreement for a flat fee of $49 per document. Learn more about RocketLawyer >>
CompleteCase provides all the divorce documents you need in your state, along with filing instructions, for a flat fee of $299. Check out CompleteCase now >>
Is 3 Step Divorce legit?
Those started in the late 1990s, meaning they’re some of the oldest divorce-help sites out there!
According to 3 Step Divorce, the companies together have “reached over 10 million people” online over the last two decades.
They’re also associated with 3StepLaw.com.
3 Step Divorce doesn’t have a Better Business Bureau profile, but sister site Divorce Source does.
They’re not accredited, but they still rock an A+ rating with BBB.
During their two-decade run processing more than 750,000 forms and helping former lovebirds move on, 3 Step Divorce has been featured by Forbes, CNN, USA Today and NPR.
User reviews through TrustPilot Ratings & Reviews show 3StepDivorce with an approval rating of a little over 90 percent out of roughly 300 reviews.
Is 3 Step Divorce secure?
3 Step Divorce says they take security seriously.
They use Verisign technology to encrypt personal data like payment info, your name, and your address.
Also, they test their site every day for vulnerability clearance with McAfee Virus Protection, and any info being transmitted is encrypted by Norton.
They also go to great lengths to detail security features in their actual physical location — like 24/7 surveillance, alarms, locked rooms and even reinforced floors.
How does 3 Step Divorce compare to traditional divorce?
This goes without saying, but a regular divorce takes a little more than three steps.
You generally wind up getting a lawyer, spending weeks figuring out your assets and deciding on custody, spousal support, and on and on.
That can be tough on your kids, your schedule, and your wallet. That’s especially true if your divorce is at all contested.
According to GOBankingRates, the average cost of a contested divorce in the U.S. is $15,000 to $20,000 — and some are much higher!
Using a site like 3StepDivorce is way, way cheaper.
Pros and cons of DIY divorce with 3 Step Divorce
- Their DIY process is very fast, but you can go through the process at your own pace if you need to take some time.
- 3StepDivorce is less expensive. Similar services go for double the price tag, and it’s nothing compared to how much going through the traditional process would cost. And if you’re strapped for cash (one of you has to figure out where else to live, after all), 3StepDivorce will let you pay in installments.
- 3StepDivorce lets you make changes to your documents whenever you need at no additional cost.
- You won’t even have to do any sort of phone consultation, though there’s 24/7 phone support available should you need it.
- As 3StepDivorce itself cautions — it is not a substitute for a lawyer.
- The website could use a serious facelift. 3StepDivorce and Divorce Source was born in the ’90s, and it looks like it never left.
- There’s not a lot of interaction. Despite all the associated sites in this network, 3StepDivorce hasn’t updated their helpful blog section since 2017, and it’s been even longer since they made a Facebook post.
Is 3 Step Divorce a good option?
The price point is attractive, but remember that sometimes you get what you pay for.
In this case, you’re talking about something that’s extremely pared down from the kind of service you’d get with a traditional lawyer or even some online competitors.
Normally, the look and feel of a website and social media presence aren’t necessarily indicative of how well a company performs, but, with something as personal as divorce, it’s nice to know the other side is staying up to date on the latest trends and going the extra mile to connect with customers.
There’s no shortage of options for services helping you get divorced.
This is something you want to get right, so make sure you weigh your options when it comes to which divorce option is best for you.
Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and Indiana mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. Her personal finance articles have been published in the U. S. News, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Life Hacker. Holly is founder of of the family finance resource, ClubThrifty.com, and is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. Learn more about Holly here.