Complete guide to divorce papers (and where to get them)

Some links below are from our sponsors. Here's how we make money.

As emotionally grueling as divorce can be as it is, a divorce is really just a legal procedure. Legal filings almost always require paperwork, and divorce is no difference.

While a traditional divorce involving two or more attorneys can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars and months or years of battle, most couples with relatively simple affairs and a custody agreement for any shared children should be able to end their marriage quickly and with few costs — but you still can't avoid dealing with divorce papers.

An online divorce service is an affordable way to get all the papers you need, quickly. 3 Step Divorce provides all the legal documents you need for your state, as well as detailed instructions for how to file—with a 100% guarantee your local court will accept them.

3StepDivorce has:

  • A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • 100% guarantee papers will be accepted by your local court
  • 24/7 customer support by phone or chat
  • $50 cash rebate if you filed within one business day

Get started with 3StepDivorce now for just $84 >>

This post will address:

Where can I get divorce papers?

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 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.

What paperwork do I need for divorce? What divorce papers look like

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 is 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 polices 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.

Where can I get divorce papers online?

Or, if you use one of the quality online divorce platforms, you will get all your divorce papers include in their program. For example, 3 Step Divorce provides all the legal documents you need for your state, as well as detailed instructions for how to file—with a 100% guarantee your local court will accept them.

You can also get divorce papers online for your state from 3 Step Divorce:

AlabamaAlaska
ArizonaArkansas
CaliforniaColorado
ConnecticutDelaware
District of ColumbiaFlorida
GeorgiaHawaii
IdahoIllinois
IndianaIowa
KansasKentucky
LouisianaMassachusetts
MarylandMaine
MichiganMinnesota
MississippiMissouri
MontanaNebraska
NevadaNew Hampshire
New JerseyNew Mexico
New YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhio
OklahomaOregon
PennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
TennesseeTexas
UtahVermont
VirginiaWashington
West VirginiaWisconsin
Wyoming

How can I get divorce papers for free?

Again, your local court may provide divorce papers, separation agreements, child custody and other related family court papers free of charge — even online.

Otherwise, they will be included with an online, DIY divorce program (which is not free, but low-cost compared with paying attorneys).

How can I get free divorce papers online?

Many states increasingly allow you to download and file your own divorce papers online for free. Check with your local clerk, then check out Rocket Lawyer's divorce worksheet, which is 100% free.

How can I write my own divorce papers?

If you and your spouse are in agreement about how to share time and expenses of your kids, divide assets, property and debt, congratulations! You qualify for a no-fault divorce and can get this over with sooner than later.

First, understand which court you need to file in. Some states divorce is filed in civil court, family court or divorce court.

Some states have residency requirements for divorce, such as mandating that you live in a state a minimum of six months before you can file in that state.

Educate yourself about filing fees in your state. Even if you can download the divorce papers and file for divorce for free online, you will likely have to pay filing fees, which can range from $200 to $400, depending on where you live.

If the two of you agree to sit down and sort it out, then using papers from your local courts and filing yourself may be the answer. However, it is easy to make errors that hold up the process, so consider paying a few hundred dollars from an online divorce paper company, as well as hiring a local attorney or mediator to look over your divorce papers to make sure that you addressed all important issues, and there are no errors that will delay your divorce being finalized.

What goes in divorce papers?

Every state is different, so check with your local courts, or ask a local attorney. But in general, you will need to collect these documents to finalize your divorce:

  • Dissolution of marriage document. Your state will have its own version of this paper.
  • Settlement agreement to document how all assets and debts will be divided.
  • Custody and child support agreements if you have children, as well as birth certificates for all your kids.
  • Marriage licensed / information about when and where you married.
  • Financial documents, including recent pay stubs, tax returns, deeds and mortgages, debts,

Which divorce papers need to be notarized?

Typically, you will need to get these divorce papers notarized:

  • Initial divorce filing
  • Financial documents
  • Final divorce settlement agreement

How much does it cost to file papers for a divorce?

Each state has its own procedures and fees for filing for divorce. They range from $50 in Mississippi, to up to $450 in California. Some states charge more for different required divorce paperwork, such as custody agreements.

To learn about how to get and file divorce papers in your state, call the courthouse near you, or most districts have the information on a courthouse website.
Where to file divorce papers

You or your attorney will file the signed and notarized divorce paperwork with your local courts, typically at the court house.

How are divorce papers served?

If you and your divorce have an amicable 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.

Online divorce papers: A review of My Divorce Papers

There are many, many online divorce papers service providers on the Internet. Here is our roundup of the best DIY online divorce companies.

Our #1 recommendation is 3 Step Divorce. Read our 3 Step Divorce review, or get started for as little as $84 with 3 Step Divorce now >>

My Divorce Papers is one of those many sites that helps couples easily file for divorce online. My Divorce Papers offers exactly what it sounds like: complete divorce forms and attorney-approved programs and services.

Since 2002, they have served over 1.2 million people with their fast, easy divorce options. My Divorce Papers promises a “fast online divorce in under an hour.”

Unfortunately, MyDivorcePapers.com's parent company, Divorce Place, has a Better Business Bureau rating of F.

Our recommendation is to pay $299 for 3StepDivorce. 3Step's fee includes all the papers required in to file for divorce in your state, and detailed instructions for doing so yourself.

3StepDivorce features:

  • Better Business Bureau rating of A+
  • 100% money-back guarantee your papers will be accepted by the court
  • Free chat support 24/7 by phone or chat
  • $50 cash rebate if you file within 1 business day
BBB ratingLive attorney consultations?Price
3 Step DivorceA+No$299 — plus a $50 cash rebate if you file the same day you create an account. Get started for $84.
CompleteCaseANo$299
Rocket LawyerA+Members may ask questions, plus get free 30-min phone consultations$39/ month after free 7-day trial, or per-document fee of $39

Should I file for divorce with an attorney — or online? How do I do one or the other?

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.

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. In this process, each spouse hires his or her own attorney, and then there is a third, neutral lawyer or other mediator works to resolve any disagreements and come to an amicable solution without going to court, and with the lowest cost and conflict possible. This is in contrast to the traditional “winner takes all” approach to divorce.

Most couples use a local divorce or family lawyer to file for divorce, even if you agree on most terms, and file yourself. It can be helpful to have an experienced attorney look over your forms.

Increasingly, online services like those listed below, as well as the huge 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, 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.

How to file for divorce online with MyDivorcePapers

The My Divorce Papers sign-up process is simple.

  1. It’s 100% free to register with My Divorce Papers and create an account.
  2. Select your state of residence and create an account.
  3. You’ll specify whether you need to file paperwork for a divorce, an annulment, or a legal separation.
  4. Fill out other basic questions, such as whether or not you know the location of your spouse, and whether you and your spouse are in agreement on the division of your property, assets, and any child-related matters, like custody and support.
  5. Even if you and your spouse are at odds about these divorce-related issues, you’ll still qualify for the My Divorce Papers online divorce services.
  6. Next, enter information about your divorce, including which partner is filing for the divorce, whether your credit was affected as a result of the marriage, your current living arrangements, and how soon you’re looking to file.
  7. You’ll then be asked a couple of questions related to any children involved and any current pregnancies.
  8. On the next screen, you’ll answer questions about shared and individual assets, debts, and properties, income, and employment.

Other details My Divorce Papers will ask about include military history, whether you or your spouse are already represented by an attorney if you’ve already filed for divorce in court, and how you plan to finance the divorce.

The answers you give are plugged right into your custom set of state-specific, legally binding forms. You can change your answers at any time before filing the divorce papers.

There’s no obligation to pay for anything until you’re almost finished with the process and ready to file.

For individuals with large estates or sizeable assets, complex finances, or major issues with reaching a negotiation, My Divorce Papers will provide a free consultation with a divorce lawyer right in your area.

All of the online divorce forms are filled out in real time, so once you’re finished, they’re ready for instant filing and delivery to your local courthouse.

They even explain in great detail how you should serve the papers to your spouse, which is one of the more delicate elements of the whole process.

Their guidance here is key to a successful online divorce, and they handle it wonderfully.

What does a DIY divorce online cost with My Divorce Papers?

My Divorce Papers costs $159 for complete divorce forms preparation.

My Divorce Papers will give you a 100% refund if their divorce forms are not accepted by your local court. Keep in mind that the low price comes at a price! This includes an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, which has not accredited the company's parent company, Divorce Place Inc.

Other online divorce services to consider are  RocketLawyer and 3 Step Divorce.

RocketLawyer allows you to buy legal documents like a divorce settlement or separation agreement for a flat fee of $49 per document, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Learn more about RocketLawyer >>

3StepDivorce provides all the divorce documents you need in your state, along with filing instructions, for a flat fee of $299, and has an A+ BBB rating. Check out 3StepDivorce now >>

BBB ratingWhat you getLive attorney consultations?Price
My Divorce PapersFAll filing papers + filing instructions in your stateNo$159
3StepDivorceA+All filing papers + filing instructions in your stateNo$299 + $50 rebate
Rocket LawyerA+One-off documents and attorney consults Members may ask questions, plus get free 30-min phone consultations$39/ month after free 7-day trial, or per-document fee of $39

Related: How to get through divorce without going bankrupt

Does MyDivorcePapers.com work in every state?

Since every state’s divorce guidelines are different, you must choose the state(s) where you and your partner live.

This would normally involve some digging and research on your part in order to figure out the specific state regulations (and even more so if you and your partner live in separate states!).

Luckily, My Divorce Papers has an intuitive and well-documented set of resources, sans all the confusing legalese, to help you get everything squared away in a matter of minutes.

Every state’s divorce laws are different.

For example, to get a New York online divorce you must live in the state for one year prior to filing for a divorce.

New York divorce law only offers fault divorces.

They also use an equal distribution of property and do not require an official parenting plan to be on file with the divorce. Learn more about how to co-parent with even the most toxic ex in this post.

Difference between a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce

One of the most significant changes in divorce law over the past century is the acceptance of no-fault divorce in all 50 states starting in the late 1960s. Instead of forcing couples to prove to the court why they should be granted a divorce, with charges against the other spouse, they can now — usually — simply claim irreconcilable differences or otherwise just get the divorce because one party wants to.

True no-fault divorce states where parties do not have to prove any reason to break up are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

In the rest of the country, petitioners have the choice to claim a reason, or go for no-fault. Reasons may include:

  • Abandonment
  • Addiction
  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Impotence
  • Imprisonment
  • Incest
  • Mental abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
  • Physical abuse

Most of the time in these states, divorcing couples simply chose to claim irreconcilable differeences and get on with it already.

What does My Divorce Papers include?

Every couple gets a dedicated account manager, or “case manager,” who walks you through every step of the process.

Your case manager will become familiar with your circumstances, and you’ll have access to them via phone or email any time you need help.

Other elements of divorce that can be quite tricky to navigate when filing for divorce involve kids: child custody and custody payments are big issues in many divorces.

My Divorce Papers helps families set up a Parenting Plan, which is a custody plan that is filed with a marital separation agreement or final divorce decree.

My Divorce Papers helps parents negotiate a Parenting Plan, whether the state requires one or not. Learn more about successfully co-parenting after divorce, and why it is so important for children.

The divorce services My Divorce Papers offer also include a Child Custody Calculator AND Alimony Calculator for establishing reasonable and fair payments from one spouse to the other.

This can be a real hang-up in the traditional divorce court process, but your My Divorce Papers dedicated Case Manager is trained to help you come to an agreement quickly and peacefully.

My Divorce Papers customers get access to a completely free library of divorce resources.

Their team has created an extensive video archive to help explain issues like taxes, estate planning, spousal support, child custody, and how to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

Get your maiden name back with My Divorce Papers’ free name change service for wives!

Related: Should you change your name after divorce?

That’s one less thing to figure out – and each thing taken off your plate will be a huge relief at a time like this.

Pros and cons of MyDivorcePapers.com

Pros

  • It’s quick. My Divorce Papers boasts that their document-filing process can be completed in under an hour! Plus, no waiting on an attorney or the slow, bureaucratic courthouse process.
  • All states are covered, and My Divorce Papers provides state-specific filing instructions, requirements, explanations, and forms.
  • My Divorce Papers costs less than the average divorce by speeding up the process and eliminating pricey legal fees. In a $30 billion divorce industry, getting completely prepared divorce forms online for $159 is a great deal.
  • My Divorce Papers guarantees that your forms will be accepted by the court or you get your money back.

Cons

  • My Divorce Papers has a BBB rating of F, and is not accredited
  • Filing for divorce online isn’t always as quick as the company promotes. It can depend on factors like where you live, whether your state has a waiting period, whether you know where your spouse is (to serve them the papers), whether it’s a fault-based or no-fault divorce, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, if you have big assets, like businesses, that take longer to evaluate, and if there are custody issues to dispute.

3 Step Divorce: Alternative to My Divorce Papers

Skip the poor customer service of My Divorce Papers and go with 3 Step Divorce.

Filing for divorce? Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions about how and where to file for divorce:

How do I start filing for divorce? What to I do?

If you and your spouse are amicable, you can collect all the divorce papers from the local courthouse, sit down with a divorce worksheet and come to terms of the split yourselves. Then, you can file with the local courts. Depending on where you live, you may need to make an appearance in court to finalize the breakup.

Even if the divorce is friendly, before you officially file for a divorce, it helps to talk to an attorney or mediator to make sure that you are protecting your children, yourself and your financial interests.

If you are not working amicably with your spouse on the divorce, you may need to hire an attorney who will manage this process for you. Your ex then will also likely hire an attorney. Then, both camps can hash out a divorce agreement, which will then be filed in the courts. Or, you may have to go to trial if you can not come to a divorce agreement outside of court.

How much does filing for divorce cost?

If you DIY divorce, the price to file divorce papers can cost a few hundred dollars in filing fees. If you hire an attorney, you will pay $200-$1,000 per hour, with an average cost per spouse of $15,000 or more.

What happens after filing for divorce?

If you and your spouse are not on reasonable terms, you or your attorney may hire a process server to serve the divorce papers to your soon-to-be ex. Then, you may either appear in court to hash out the divorce, or each of you will hire an attorney who will attempt to settle the divorce outside of court — and then file the separation or divorce agreement with the courts.

Frequently asked questions about filing for divorce free or cheap

Divorce can be expensive — but you can get unhitched for cheap, or even free for some of the services listed in this post.

What is the cheapest way of getting a divorce? How do you divorce if you can’t afford it?

On face value, you may be able to do 100% of your divorce yourself, using forms found for free online or from your local court house, and pay the local administrative fee of a few hundred dollars, and call it a day.

In reality, most people should at least hire a professional service to make sure you have all your forms, have them filled out correctly, and if you have any shared property or children with your soon-to-be-ex, make sure that all of your interests are accounted for.

Otherwise, that “free” divorce could cost you much more in the long-run.

How to file for divorce online yourself

Increasingly, online services like those listed below, as well as the huge trove of quality online information and technology improvements in the courts means that in many cases, couples can quickly move through a divorce:

  1. Agree on terms of the divorce.
  2. Create legal documents online.
  3. Sign and have notarized the legal divorce papers.
  4. Either file the papers themselves, 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.

Where to find a notary to get your divorce papers notarized

Increasingly, local and state courts were allowing for electronic and digital signatures, as well as online notary services to help expedite divorces and other legal matters that could be filed online. These efforts only accelerated during Covid-19 orders-in-place that made it difficult if not illegal to interact with a notary, attorneys or your ex.

To notarize divorce papers, typically you simply either use a notary public near you through your attorney, court, or a local notary — there is usually one on staff at your bank or credit union, local post office, AAA (a free benefit to members), UPS store, or a friend. I always use my neighbor Jill.

For online notary service, you can use Notarize.com, though at $25 per document, it is very expensive compared with a notary public fee of $2 to $5 per document at other locations, or, in my case, the cost of a glass of wine for Jill.

Before you hire an online notary service, or sign your divorce papers digitally or electronically online, check to make sure that your state accepts these online services.

Frequently asked questions about amicable divorce

Some people need to hire a divorce attorney. See below. But for the majority of separating couples, a low-cost, amicable divorce can save you time, money, stress, and set both the husband and wife up for better co-parenting in the future.

  • What is an amicable divorce?
  • Why an amicable divorce is best for your children
  • How much does an amicable divorce cost?
  • What is part of an amicable divorce checklist?
  • How to have an amicable divorce
  • Best amicable online divorce company

An uncontested, amicable divorce is advised for all parties — though this may not be possible in a minority of cases. These include:

  • When one or both parties are physically / sexually / or severely emotionally abusive to each other and/or children
  • There are large and / or complex financial assets that need to be divided
  • Division of a family-owned business is at stake
  • You enjoy fighting and love to waste money

Everyone else should first try an uncontested, amicable divorce if at all possible!

What is an amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce means that both spouses agree to the terms and conditions without a court trial, and without lengthy attorney negotiations. Couples divorcing amicably typically either agree to terms of the split by themselves, with the help of a mediator, a therapist, or through the collaborative process.

Online counseling for couples or individuals can be an affordable, convenient choice. Learn more …

These agreements include property division, spousal and child support, visitation and custody. Amicable divorce does not mean that the spouses are friends, or even friendly — but they are not at war, either.

Why an amicable divorce is best for your children

You can convince yourself that your children are not affected by the conflict of your divorce, but that is a lie. Your children pick up on all the tension between you and their other parent.

Also, it is very hard to move from a high-conflict divorce into an amicable, healthy co-parenting relationship. By committing to a low-conflict, amicable breakup now, you start your new life as peacefully for the whole family.

Amicable divorce paves the way for equal, happy co-parenting, which has been proven by 60 peer-reviewed studies to be the best arrangement for children in separated families.

In other words: Do not create any more bad memories or things to fight over during the divorce. You did that already when you were married.

How much does an amicable divorce cost?

While an average divorce costs each spouse $15,000 each in attorney fees — or $30,000 total — a DIY divorce can cost as little as $100 or less, depending on the filing fees in your state.

What is part of an amicable divorce checklist?

Whether you are working with a mediator, or directly with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, it is helpful to have a divorce settlement checklist to make sure you have all the paperwork and agreement items covered:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Prenup
  • Wills, trusts and other docs that may need to be amended after the divorce
  • Login information for all your shared financial and legal accounts
  • Documentation of any outstanding debt, and a plan to share that debt, including student loans, credit card, personal, medical, home and auto notes
  • All bank account statements, and an agreed-upon plan for how any funds will be shared
  • Retirement and investment account statements, and a plan for sharing these funds
  • Documents about any real estate that is part of the marriage, and how related assets, debt or rental income will be divided
  • Documents about any business that is part of the marriage, and how related assets, debt or rental income will be divided
  • Agreement for who is responsible and who gets any automobiles owned
  • 2 years of tax statements, and plans for tax filing in the divorce year
  • Custody, time-sharing plan for children
  • Plan for expense sharing for children
  • Any child support or alimony to be paid

How to have an amicable divorce

  1. Focus on being fair and honest, and aim for compromise.
  2. Be kind — to our ex (this is hard for him, too), yourself, and those around you. This is a loss and change for everyone.
  3. Find a positive tribe. One study found that when divorcing couples receive negative feedback from their friends and family (“Take him for all he's worth!” “I always hated that bitch! Make her pay!”) the divorce conflict was higher than in separating couples who had kinder support networks.
  4. Recognize that this process establishes the tone of your new relationship going forward. If you share children, your husband or wife will be in your life for a long time.

Everything you need to know about notarizing, serving and filing your own divorce papers

Depending on whether you are using a single mediator, representing yourself or each of you have your own attorney, the spirit of an amicable or uncontested divorce hearing is the same: Each of you wants to get out of the marriage in a way that is fair, quick and low-drama. In some states you must appear before a judge to finalize your divorce, but often your attorney or you can file settlement papers with the courts directly and do not have to appear.

What to expect at an amicable or uncontested divorce hearing

Today, you can expect that hearing to be via Zoom or another online meeting platform. Attorneys and judges are backlogged thanks to Coronavirus shutdowns, and it will likely take longer than usual to finalize your divorce.

What is the best amicable online divorce company?

3 Step Divorce gives you all the divorce forms, and settlement agreements that you need for your state, to file your divorce by yourself, for a $299 flat fee — including detailed filing instructions for your state. Get BBB A+ rating 24/7 phone support and a $50 discount now >>

When you should consider an annulment

Divorce and a civil annulment (not religious annulment) are similar in that they both legally end a marriage. However, an annulment voids a marriage, essentially removing it from existence.

While you can get a divorce based on any reason, or no reason at all, in most states, to attain an annulment, you have to prove that it should be nullified, or canceled. Annulments can be lengthy, expensive and complicated — especially compared with an online divorce.

It is often possible to get a religious or church annulment, as well as a civil divorce.

If you're making more money than your spouse, you may want an annulment because there's usually no alimony in an annulled marriage.

What are the reasons for an annulment?

Grounds for annulment include:

  • Unsound mind. You must prove one spouse gave consent to marry under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was otherwise mentally impaired. Drunk in Vegas may count.
  • Force or coercion. One spouse was coerced into the marriage by force or threat.
  • Fraud. The marriage is based on lies made by one spouse — such as hiding large debts, or being dishonest about your willingness or ability to have children, or a marriage solely to obtain a green card.
  • Physical impairment. This typically refers to sexual impotence, though if you knew about your spouse's impotence before marriage, this cannot be used to nullify a marriage.
  • Invalid marriage. The following situations deem a marriage invalid from the beginning since they are illegal in the United States:
    • Bigamy
    • Incest
    • Underage marriage

How long before you can get an annulment?

Each state has its own statute of limitation for annulments and can vary by situation, including underage marriage, impotence or fraud.

How do you annul a marriage?

Check with an attorney, as each state has different laws and practices around annulment. In some states, if both spouses agree, you can get an uncontested annulment without a hearing.

How do I file for divorce with an attorney?

In many cases, your can handle your own annulment, online, using an online platform. Rocket Lawyer has online forms and instructions to help you file an uncontested annulment, online, for a low cost. RocketLawyer has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

Online divorce services are not for everyone. Here are some situations where you need to hire an attorney:

  • You need a divorce lawyer if there is abuse in the relationship, or against the children.
  • There is a severe addiction or severe mental illness that prevents one spouse from being an equal co-parent.
  • You need a family attorney for your divorce if there are large sums of money, assets, property or a family business that are complicated and require professionals to divide equitably.
  • It is not possible to proceed with an uncontested, amicable divorce or annulment.

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. Sometimes a couple agrees to use one attorney to mediate the agreement, which is a lower-conflict, and more affordable way to divorce.

How to find a divorce lawyer you like and trust

Collaborative divorce is gaining popularity. In this process, each spouse hires his or her own attorney, and then there is a third, neutral lawyer or other mediator works to resolve any disagreements and come to an amicable solution without going to court, and with the lowest cost and conflict possible. This is in contrast to the traditional “winner takes all” approach to divorce. Most couples use a local divorce or family lawyer to file for divorce, even if you agree on most terms, and file yourself. It can be a good investment to have an experienced attorney look over your forms.

If you decide you'd like to speak with a lawyer, start with the Rocket Lawyer attorney directory >>

Other companies to consider:

3 Step Divorce Review: Is DIY divorce right for you?

LegalZoom Review: DIY online divorce


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.

3 Comments

Tried mydivorcepapers.com after reading this blog and they scammed me. Took $159 and then the website stopped working and when I called to get a refund they said I had to email a request. Sent two emails and never heard back or got my refund.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *