The divorce rate in the United States is close to fifty percent, meaning there is a significant demand for legal services to help couples separate. In recent years, web-based service providers have begun competing with in-person divorce services, with the aim of allowing divorcing couples to create and file their own divorce paperwork. While these websites claim to offer an affordable alternative to utilizing the services of an attorney, couples in search of divorce should be wary of utilizing online divorce services.
How Do These Websites Work?
Online divorce services promise a quick fix for divorcing couples. They have customers identify their state of residence, pay the site a fee, and answer a series of questions regarding things like asset division and custody of children. These services target couples who are seeking uncontested divorces, which are divorces where spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, like division of marital property and child support. After couples complete the questionnaire, these sites provide them with completed divorce paperwork to sign and file at the courthouse themselves.
Why Should Divorcing Couples be Wary of Using Online Divorce Services?
If online divorce services seem too good to be true, that’s because they are. Divorce, even if uncontested, is a complicated process that brings out mixed emotions, and can quickly turn into a combative and emotionally draining experience. A divorce attorney is not only a liaison between a client and the spouse they are divorcing, but their services allow clients to process their emotions while the attorney manages the process.
Further, the process utilized by online divorce sites assumes that both parties to a divorce are on equal financial and informational footing, and that both parties have equal personal power in the relationship. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. An experienced divorce attorney is able to make sure their client is in a good negotiating position at all times, and that their client’s decisions are based on accurate financial information and other sensitive information.
Additionally, an experienced attorney is also able to advise their client on the big picture of divorce, like the tax implications of divorce. Online divorce services often do not provide their users with information on the broader implications of divorce.
Finally, while the low upfront cost of online divorce services may seem attractive, the cost of hiring an attorney to fix a mess unintentionally created by using an online divorce service, such as a dissatisfactory division of assets or child support arrangement, can be expensive. Moreover, most attorneys charge a significantly lower rate for uncontested divorces. When you factor in the courthouse filing fees couples still have to pay even after paying the upfront cost of the online divorce service, an attorney is not as expensive an option in these situations as it may seem.
What Should You Do if You Plan to File for Divorce?
A divorce can be a confusing and difficult process, no matter the circumstances, and you deserve to have your divorce handled professionally and accurately from the start. Instead of shouldering the burden on your own, contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Blair H. Chan III, PLLC. They are ready to stand by your side as your advocate throughout this difficult process, and advise you of your options.