Get a Cheap Divorce! Only $299!
“Divorce for $299” advertisements are scattered everywhere. They are difficult to miss in most people’s comings and goings. I see them on billboards on the side of the road. They show up in my Facebook newsfeed. “Divorce for $299” posters are nailed to telephone poles in my neighborhood.
The “Divorce for $299” is a seductive concept. Anyone about to turn his or her world upside down by filing for divorce is probably wanting to save as much money as possible. After all, the future is necessarily going to require two households instead of one, possible child support or alimony payments, and potentially living on a lot less income. If a “Divorce for $299” was possible, who wouldn’t say “hell yes”?!
The thing about this type of “cheap divorce” is this:
It is a myth.
If you are considering pursuing a divorce for $299, read the fine print before you sign any contracts. Chances are that the $299 divorce only covers preparation of divorce documents with nothing more. Let me explain.
Regardless of where you file, the court itself is going to charge some sort of filing fee (which will vary by jurisdiction). For example, in Phoenix, Arizona, a Petition for Dissolution is filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. The fee that the Maricopa County Clerk of the Court charges just to file divorce paperwork is over $299.
Once divorce paperwork is filed, it must be served upon the other party. There are a few ways to accomplish service, and some of them are free. However, the most frequently used method of service will cost you money. The amount of money is dictated by the process server you select. In most cases, the cost of service can run from $60 to over $100, depending upon the location of service, as well as the number of attempts at service that are made.
By the point service has been made, you may have paid money to have your documents prepared, have paid the Clerk of the Court his fee, and have probably paid a process server. You have spent no less than $350, assuming your documents were prepared for free.
Are you seeing how a “Divorce for $299” will never, ever happen?
If you only need the initial divorce documents prepared and nothing more, $299 will probably do it. Chances are that your documents will not be prepared or reviewed by a divorce lawyer. Maybe this works for you and if it does, rock on with your bad self!
If you want to make sure that all your “t’s” are crossed, at least consult with a lawyer prior to filing and prior to signing off on final paperwork. It will serve you in the long run to have it done right. If you get a “Divorce for $299 ” in the beginning, down the road, it could end up costing you important rights, property and thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.