‘How much will a divorce cost?’
That’s one of the common questions people ask when planning a divorce. The average cost of a divorce depends on several factors, and often turns out to be expensive if you are not prepared. However, it is possible to reduce the cost of divorce.
Keep reading this post to know how to get a divorce with no money.
Can You Get Divorce With No Money?
It may not always be possible to get a divorce at zero cost. But in some cases, you could get through the divorce proceedings at low or no cost.
1. File fee-waiver petition
- Gather information: Waiver for divorce fees is available for people who belong to the low-income group and cannot afford the divorce expenses. It is scheduled at the state, level and you will have to show proof of the income at the court’s level. You can contact the state court clerk and gather information about divorce fee-waiver based on your finances or income. Show your documents and let them know that you cannot afford a lawyer.
- Fill the form: Fill the fee-waiver petition form with your personal information, including the name and address of both the spouses, details of minor children, and reason for divorce. If you are not comfortable to prove the reasons, a few states may allow irreconcilable differences (mutual decision of divorce when spouses cannot get along) as the reason.
- Submit proofs: Along with personal details, you need to list your income, property, investment, savings, or cash balances, if any. The copies of bank statements, bills, and other financial documents must be submitted along with the petition. Sign the petition form and the affidavit before submitting it. The clerk would get the paperwork verified, notarize your forms and statements, and schedule a hearing with the judge.
- Approval: A few states have simplified the process if the divorce is approved. The paperwork is completed in a day, and the divorce is finalized. After approval, you have to get a marital settlement and prepare for its hearing.
2. Try out mediation divorce
Mediation is a flexible way to get a divorce. It gives you and your spouse a chance to settle the conflicts and mutually come to a decision. In some cases, mediation divorce doesn’t require a lawyer and cuts down the divorce-related cost significantly.
Mediation is all about working on the case together for the best interests of the spouses and children. Also, this type of divorce is private and confidential, saving time, effort, and money (1) (2). However, if you need a mediator for help, then it may incur some cost.
3. Look for free or low-priced services
Plenty of states have specified services to help people with low or no income resources to afford a lawyer or divorce fees. For instance, several law firms take up pro bono (professional work is undertaken without payment) cases where the couple is not charged but offered standardized services.
Couples who want to get a divorce at no cost can visit the courts in their town or city and look for inexpensive or zero-cost options. This process may take a lot of time, but you may find the right way to proceed with the divorce at a low cost.
4. Go for legal help at a reduced cost
You may find some lawyers who would guide you through the entire process and charge a minimal fee. However, they would not represent you at the hearing in court. You can call the bar association of your town or city or state and ask if you can find such legal experts. Once you get their contact information, explain your case, objectives, and financial status to them.
5. Seek help from a paralegal
A paralegal has knowledge of legal matters and has been trained, but is not completely qualified to be a lawyer. Several states do permit the paralegals to help people in guiding and drafting paperwork. But, if your state doesn’t allow it, you should not do it. Do check your state laws before seeking advice from the paralegals.
6. Ask for legal guidance from the government
Some states offer legal aid to the citizens through a legal help society, city or state bar, or volunteer legal representatives. These volunteers or legal helpers may charge zero or significantly low fees. You can ask your friends or families to refer or check online for such professional volunteer lawyers ready to take up the divorce.
7. Pro Se representation
It is also called do-it-yourself divorce. Pro Se means a self-representation of your case in the court without any lawyer. People who cannot afford lawyers choose this option. It is helpful in small cases such as car accidents, property issues, or divorce. You can seek information from the local bar association or the city or state council. It may not be easy to represent yourself if the other party is in disagreement or files additional legal complaints (3).
It is possible to get a divorce with less or no money, provided you find a suitable way for your case. It may take a lot of time and effort, but there is a high probability of finding help in any of the above-mentioned ways.
2. Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution; State of Indiana
3. Pro Se Litigants/Representing Yourself; United States District Court