Divorce is more or less always atrocious. But it doesn’t always have to be a knock-down drag-out legal brawl, either.
Many times, people getting divorced don’t have a lot of animosity toward one another, and an easy separation process can keep it that way.
That’s the appeal of online divorce services, which can save you time, hassle and money.
HOW DOES LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE WORK?
Essentially, the LegalZoom-Wevorce program works by creating a customized roadmap for your divorce, including these five steps:
- A phone consultation to help familiarize you with the program and organize your concerns into the emotional, financial and legal aspects of divorce.
- LegalZoom-Wevorce creates a personalized plan, custom-created for your family, and initiates all the court documents you will need.
- Create a successful parenting plan with a goal of minimum conflict.
- Create a plan for how to divvy up assets and debts and map out both your and your spouse’s financial futures.
- Prepare documents for submittal to your state's courts.
A self-guided Wevorce package takes on average less than one month to complete.
It’s easy to sign up. LegalZoom-Wevorce will ask you for basic information like your name, the state where you plan to file your divorce, whether you and your spouse have any minor children and your contact info.
Tip: When you’re signing up, they suggest you pick a password that your spouse won’t know!
Then, once you confirm your account and pay, you can schedule a phone consultation with a LegalZoom-Wevorce representative to start the ball rolling.
This is also when you’ll be able to begin self-guided online modules.
Also, after you’re all set up, you can choose to connect LegalZoom-Wevorce with your spouse’s email address so that they can also create an account — but that’s not a requirement.
WHAT DOES A DIY DIVORCE COST WITH LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE?
Wevorce starts at $949 for couples. That doesn’t include court filing fees, which are set by your state and county and typically run anywhere from $300-$500.
The cost covers LegalZoom-Wevorce’s self-guided divorce program, including access for both spouses.
Here’s what that gets you:
- Completion of necessary documents for both you and your spouse.
- Filing instructions.
- A marriage settlement agreement.
- A parenting plan that lays out child-related agreements, if you need that (not a bad thing, mama).
- Documents for child support.
- A name-change provision if you want to go back to your maiden name.
- A temporary separation agreement.
- Personalized tools and reading.
- Equalization payments.
- A spousal support plan.
- A closure process.
- A 30-minute session with a Wevorce specialist, e-delivery of your paperwork, and the ability to make revisions for 30 days.
If you need more help during the process, Wevorce will hook you up with one of its certified pros –– certified financial and legal specialists who are well-versed in the Wevorce online divorce process — at $199 per hour.
LegalZoom-Wevorce touts a 100% court-approval guarantee, too.
That means that if the forms you get are not accepted by the court due to an error by Wevorce, they’ll make any changes ordered by the court for free — or they’ll give you a full refund.
BENEFITS OF LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE
Using LegalZoom-Wevorce is convenient.
It’s also affordable, and it can help you work toward a peaceful solution with your soon-to-be ex.
Plus, it’s a collaborative process.
You don’t need your spouse to participate in the LegalZoom-Wevorce DIY divorce program, but you can bring them into the fold if you want — and you can choose to answer the questions together on a single account or your spouse can register to access a shared account.
Another key feature is that Legal Zoom-Wevorce will provide you with complete court documents and filing instructions that are specific to your local courthouse – a great alternative to looking up your own local and state laws and regulations for divorce.
The self-guided process doesn’t come with a set time limit.
Most people make it through in less than 30 days, but you can go at your own pace.
One of the benefits of LegalZoom-Wevorce is that it allows you to take all the time you need to make sure your settlement is fair and amenable to you both, as well as use the company's counsel to help work through any challenges.
LegalZoom-Wevorce also has financial mapping tools to help you and your spouse create debt- and asset-division agreements.
Even though LegalZoom-Wevorce won’t file your documents for you, they can connect you with a pro (for a fee) or help you find resources for courier services.
IS LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE LEGIT?
LegalZoom has a solid reputation, and it’s been around for nearly 20 years.
The Better Business Bureau gives LegalZoom an A-plus rating, and it’s been accredited with the BBB since 2001.
Wevorce is not accredited with the BBB, but it has a B-plus rating.
Led by a former attorney specializing in conflict resolution, Wevorce launched out of seed accelerator Y Combinator in 2013 with the goal of taking a lot of bureaucracy, steep financial burden and extra heartache out of the divorce process.
HOW DOES LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE STAND OUT FROM THE TRADITIONAL DIVORCE INDUSTRY?
A generally accepted national average cost for contested divorce is $20,000 (or much more), take three to six months (often longer).
But contested divorces — in which both spouses hire their own attorneys, who are financially incentivized to instigate conflict and charge you by the hour to ‘resolve' it — creates the possibility for more conflict, which in turn could lead to more time and legal fees.
And that’s not all: the involved and complex nature of the traditional divorce process can affect other areas of your life: taking time off work to deal with the prolonged, messy process could have repercussions.
And then there’s the family dynamic – as couples with kids will attest.
Divorce has a huge impact on children, particularly in cases with emotionally charged child custody battles.
Family attorneys in the United States require an up-front retainer ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the complexity of your divorce.
You could wind up getting billed at an hourly rate of $200-$500 (yikes!), and even more if you’re in a big metro area.
You also have the option of going completely DIY, and either buying a “divorce kit” or hunting down all the necessary documents through your local government services and law libraries.
While that route may seem cost-efficient, it can also come with a lot of headache and time.
Also, without personalized legal advice, in some cases, your divorce may cost you far more than you would pay for a traditional attorney.
DIY divorce services are a growing force in the divorce industry.
Some other heavy hitters are Complete Case, 3 Step Divorce, My Divorce Papers, and DivorceWriter.
This is a big decision, so make sure you take the time to research your options!
You’re turning the page on a chapter in your life here, and you’ll want to make sure you’re being thorough, while also conscious.
WHAT ARE OTHER BENEFITS OF LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE?
LegalZoom-Wevorce includes a phone consultation with a professional, to ensure you’re on the right track.
You’ll also get detailed filing instructions for your specific county, which cuts down on a lot of paperwork and time.
You’ll have a way to connect with LegalZoom-Wevorce customer service staff even after you’ve filed your paperwork, in case you run into any snags or need additional questions answered.
If the basic package isn’t quite enough, you can always get additional help from attorneys, financial and parenting specialists through LegalZoom-Wevorce’s network of professional familiar with your online divorce situation and local laws.
Plus LegalZoom and Wevorce both have TONS of blogs and articles on their sites to help you make informed decisions. (These are free to everyone!)
- You can save money. Weighing the savings of a DIY divorce against the traditional alternative is a no-brainer. We’re talking hundreds of dollars in costs versus four- and even five-figure costs.
- As long as you and your spouse are on the same page, you can avoid a lengthy and emotionally draining process with mediation and attorneys.
- You can work jointly with your spouse, and you can do it in your own timeframe. You won’t have figure out when to make an appointment with an attorney since you and your spouse can go through the process remotely.
- Working amicably with your spouse toward a solution that works for both of you might make it easier on your children, too — especially if you can avoid trial. It sets a respectful, collaborative tone for your co-parenting efforts in the future and sets a great example for your kid.
- If the two of you have a lot of assets and/or kids under 18, this might be a bit too informal of a process. Depending on how complicated your assets are, or how hostile your relationship is, there can be benefits of working with a set of pros in a divorce court.
- As with anything online, you won’t quite get the same personal touch you’d have with a local attorney.
IS LEGALZOOM-WEVORCE A GOOD OPTION?
If you are poised to divorce, are on amicable terms with your to-be ex, have the same goals in mind, and you don’t think custody or assets will be complicated to work out, LegalZoom-Wevorce can be a great option.
If you think things will be more complicated, you might want to think about talking to an attorney.
It’s one thing to save money and expedite the process, but you also don’t want to exacerbate bad feelings if there’s a substantial risk for conflict — especially without legal backup.
If you’re on the fence, the Wevorce website has a divorce quiz that will help you get your bearings.
It’s actually a pretty good barometer for where your overall relationship is in terms of a divorce, gauging aspects like how well you and your spouse communicate.
If your answers indicate that you might need more time to figure out if divorce is even the right thing, Wevorce will tell you so and link you to its blog, which has lots of resources that can help with different stages of relationships.
Other companies to consider:
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.