As with most things in life, it’s always better to compare and weigh your options before accepting the first deal or choice that you come across. After all, if you refuse to search for new avenues, you’ll never grow, right?
Well, the same is true when it comes to getting a divorce.
Before going along with the same old methods, perhaps it would be best to broaden your options and see other forms of service when filing for divorce.
However, maybe you’re frightened by the idea of testing new waters because you don’t have the time or energy to look for and become well acquainted with new ways.
Is searching for and making use of other methods truly worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stick to what you know?
The divorce process puts a lot of strain on you and others involved. Besides the emotional toll, you can expect to spend a lot of time, effort, and money to get things done. So if there was a simpler, quicker, and more inexpensive method, wouldn’t you want to consider it?
Online divorce provides just that. This article will focus on online divorce and the basic steps to getting an online divorce, and throughout, we will see how it compares to the costs of the ‘traditional’ divorce style.
What is online divorce?
Online divorce is a divorce documents preparation system developed to make legal paperwork easier for you.
Online divorce is especially applicable to those seeking an uncontested divorce. It means that spouses who resolve issues like property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc., can qualify to use web divorce tools to complete their forms.
These systems provide all the needed divorce papers required by the court. They complete documents based on the answers you give in a questionnaire and provide step-by-step instructions for filing your divorce papers with the court.
Typically, online divorce tools make their technical support available to assist you when you encounter difficulties. Some also guarantee the court’s approval of the divorce papers prepared through their website.
Steps to getting an online divorce
First things first, let’s see if you qualify to get a divorce. Your eligibility will depend on your residency status and the grounds for your divorce.
If you or your spouse presently live in West Virginia and were married in West Virginia, a West Virginia court may hear your case. However, if you were not married in West Virginia, a West Virginia court may only hear your case if you or your spouse has lived in West Virginia for at least one year preceding the start of your case.
Grounds for divorce
There should be a lawfully adequate reason as to why you are getting a divorce. You will either categorize your case as a fault-based or no-fault divorce.
Fault-based means you hold your spouse responsible for ending the marriage due to reasons such as:
- being found guilty of committing a crime
- mental illness causing lasting and incurable insanity
- regular abuse of a substance(s)
- abuse or cruel treatment
- neglect or abandonment towards the mate and/or child(ren).
No-fault divorce means that spouses don’t blame each other for ruining their marriage. They state they have irreconcilable differences and can no longer stay married.
Another reason for no-fault divorce is living separately and apart in different homes for at least one year.
Answer the online divorce questionnaire
The next step is to answer a questionnaire that will give some insight into the details of your case. Usually, getting all the proper divorce papers and filling them out causes a lot of stress because you have to worry about doing it correctly, which requires a thorough understanding of what is going on.
With online divorce tools, the pressure associated with compiling all the needed documentation is eliminated, as the service does this for you. You are provided with a full packet of divorce papers required by the court, all prepared via an automated system that can be done at your preferred pace and location.
Once you finish with the questionnaire, just review your answers to make sure you answered everything correctly.
File your divorce papers
The final step will be to file your divorce papers.
The petitioner needs to take the forms to the appropriate courthouse in the West Virginia county where the petitioner or respondent lives or where they last lived together.
As of 2021, filing costs are $135 and $25 for the parent education class if a minor is involved. If you can’t pay for these expenditures, you may apply for a waiver.
Your spouse should be provided with all the documentation so that they can make a reply. There are no extra costs here, but the court may require both spouses to share the filing fee for the petition.
If the respondent does not file an answer to the petition within 20 days, a default divorce may be requested. However, it does run risks for both parties.
Depending on which online divorce site you use, prices will vary. However, average prices start at around $300.
Regardless of which site you use, you will likely save money compared to hiring a lawyer for the same services. A simple legal-assisted uncontested divorce typically has a price tag of $2,000, which does not include additional and unforeseen costs.
With online divorce companies, you pay the starting price, and as mentioned earlier, a fee for filing your divorce papers and the parent education class. But there are unlikely to be any other hidden costs.
Online divorce services are designed to simplify the uncontested divorce paperwork preparation process and reduce costs by lowering the starting price and other unnecessary expenditures. Site fees may vary, but overall you will not have to pay nearly as much as you would for divorce paperwork preparation with a lawyer.