Divorce is big business, but that doesn’t mean it always has to cost big bucks.
Obviously, divorce sucks — even when it brings a sense of relief.
But that doesn’t mean every couple who decides to call the whole thing off has to go out kicking, cursing and throwing lamps at the wall.
If divorce is in the cards for you, know that there are options to help you avoid drawn-out legal battles and mediation if you feel your particular situation doesn’t quite warrant all the hullabaloo of a Hollywood-style breakup.
In fact, there are several ways you and your spouse can pull off a do-it-yourself divorce, including using an online service like CompleteCase.com.
If you and your ex don't have many assets, agree on terms of parenting (or don't have kids) and are more or less on the same page, an online or DIY divorce can be a great option.
This is especially true if you are looking to save money. It costs an average of $15,000 in attorneys fees if you file for divorce with an attorney.
This post will show you how to file for divorce yourself, easily and affordably.
What is CompleteCase.com?
CompleteCase.com is a DIY service that bypasses the need for an attorney and a lengthy court process.
You spend a brief amount of time answering questions, and CompleteCase.com provides you with the documents you need to make your divorce official.
The service is exclusively for uncontested cases, AKA amicable divorces, and its goal is to make even those as stress-free as humanly possible.
Basically, uncontested divorce vs. contested divorce amounts to this: If you and your spouse don’t have complicated assets, business ties or custody issues to work out, and you both agree on how you’d like to end your relationship and split your belongings, you stand a good chance of making an uncontested divorce work.
On the other hand, if you two are having trouble finding common ground on key issues — kids, cats, debt, who keeps the copy of “Love, Actually” you watched on your first date — you’re more than likely on the contested divorce spectrum.
If you think you and your spouse won’t be able to come to an agreement and might even wind up going to trial, you should probably go ahead and lawyer up.
But if you guys don’t have any serious or complex issues, CompleteCase.com can help you get divorced anywhere in the U.S. and Canada — quickly and cheaply.
How to use CompleteCase.com
CompleteCase.com helps you get divorced with a quick three-step process.
You sign up, answer questions in an easy online interview at your own pace, and then print your forms and get to the filing.
Here’s how you sign up:
- Go to CompleteCase.com
- Pick your state (include the state where your spouse lives if you’re already living separately).
- You’ll have to answer a few quick questions like whether you know where your spouse is, whether your spouse is on the same page with you about getting divorced and is willing to sign papers and whether you have any kids younger than 18 from the marriage. You should be able to complete this part in a matter of minutes.
Next, you’ll have to answer a series of questions, including:
- When and where did you get married?
- How many children do you and your spouse have, and are you pregnant?
- Do you two own any property, like a house or a car, and do you have any debts?
- Which one of you is actually going to file for the divorce?
- Do you live together?
- Will you split the things you bought together evenly?
- Will you divide your owed debts evenly?
- Do you and your spouse have sources of income other than employment?
- Do you owe each other money?
- Do either of you serve in the military?
Then make an account and pay.
Once that’s done, you can log in anytime to answer more detailed questions to kick your divorce into high gear.
You’ll get instructions to guide you through each step of the process.
It takes on average about 30 minutes to get through a whole case, but you can take as much time as you need to get it right.
You’ll have access to your account for 30 days (though you can extend it — more on that in a bit).
The software autosaves any progress you make so you can pick up right where you left off, and you can keep making changes right up until you’re ready to file.
How much does it cost?
The basic package costs $299.
You can upgrade to the “VIP Level” for an extra $299, which ups the level of convenience the service provides.
If that’s the route you pick, CompleteCase.com’s team will get your spouse’s signature by sending them the necessary forms and file your completed divorce forms with the court for you.
If you don’t get everything done in one month, you can extend your CompleteCase.com subscription.
You can pay $19 monthly until you cancel, or get a three-month extension for $37, a six-month extension for $79 or a one-year subscription for $148.
Here’s something reassuring: CompleteCase.com will refund your money in full if the documents it provides are not accepted by your local court.
There’s one other thing that’s really important to understand: None of this includes your actual court-filing fee for the divorce.
Those can range anywhere from $300-$500 depending on where you live.
Is CompleteCase.com credible and secure?
CompleteCase.com was founded back in 2000 and is one of the pioneers of online divorce.
They’ve helped more than 700,000 customers in the past 18 years.
Over its nearly two decades in the game, CompleteCase.com has definitely turned some heads.
It’s been covered by some pretty big-name news programs, including Good Morning America and the Today Show, and it’s been written up in USA Today, Time Magazine and the L.A. Times!
On top of that, CompleteCase.com has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2013, and it currently holds an A rating with a composite score of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
CompleteCase.com is shored up by McAfee and verified as a secure site by GoDaddy.com.
It’s also protected by Verisign for secure encryption. CompleteCase.com won’t give away your info for any reason.
As far as accessing your documents, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat or Reader (which you can get for free) to view and print forms from CompleteCase.com.
What other resources does CompleteCase.com offer?
CompleteCase.com can also help complete and store your last will and testament if you need help getting that squared away.
Because of its accessibility and coverage area, CompleteCase.com bills itself as an easy solution for members of the military both at home and overseas.
They also promise email and phone support from legal pros and can help you access advice from attorneys in your area.
Another interesting feature of CompleteCase.com is their detailed information about divorce in each state and province.
For example, in their section on New York, they link to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stats showing that the divorce rate here is 2.9 for every 1,000 residents — that’s actually lower than most states.
They also provide links to state court systems and other resources, like tips on finding attorneys.
Is CompleteCase.com really easier than a regular divorce?
If both of you have the same goals in mind for your divorce and you don’t have a bunch of complicated assets to split up, a DIY divorce is definitely a great option for you.
Frankly, this is about as basic as it gets without researching everything yourself, manually finding all the documents you need and then hammering things out with your soon-to-be ex.
Going through CompleteCase.com is obviously faster and easier than that alternative, and you don’t have to do as much running around.
And it’s absolutely cheaper than getting an attorney. Basic services from a divorce attorney — determining eligibility, getting case information organized, tallying child support costs and preparing documents — can run upwards of $1,000. You can get those same services — plus easy document-updating capabilities, customer support and an online portal to make updates — for a fraction of the cost with CompleteCase.com.
Now, if we’re comparing an uncontested, amicable DIY split to a full-fledged contested process with mediation, and negotiations between lawyers, there’s no denying that an online divorce is simpler and cheaper.
That kind of process could easily climb to over $15,000 and take a real toll on your wellbeing, especially if it drags on and on.
Pros and cons of online divorce with CompleteCase.com
- If this is something that works for you and your spouse, you could save a lot of time and a lot of money.
- This is a simple, straightforward process, and it has a lot of resources all in one place.
- Even though they’ll charge extra for it, they say they’ll actually help you file your court documents — that’s something most other DIY divorce services don’t offer.
- If there’s a way to waive your local court filing fee, CompleteCase.com will provide instructions on how to do it — but that depends on where you live.
- Like most of its competitors, CompleteCase.com doesn’t actually offer legal advice. If you’d really like a legal expert to handle your divorce, this isn’t the place for you.
- This works on a subscription basis, so if you don’t complete your online paperwork within a month, you’ll need to put some more money down to retain access.
Is CompleteCase.com a good choice?
If you and your spouse are ready to move on with your lives and you both agree on how you want to do it, it’s going to be tough to find something more efficient than CompleteCase.com.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with cutting ties as soon as possible so that you can begin your healing process and both of you can start figuring out your futures.
But there’s also nothing wrong with taking things slow if that’s what need. After all, divorce is a monumental moment in your life.
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.