Get Divorced From Your Smartphone
It makes sense that if people can start a relationship via their smartphone, that they can also end a relationship, or their marriage through the same device.
Over the past few years, a few apps and online services have emerged that can make your divorce as easy as a swipe left or right. But are these apps really the best way to go? We’ll take a look at the apps, and also discuss why it might be in your best interest to divorce the traditional way – with the help of a lawyer.
Couples can now get divorced by following Wevorce’s step-by-step “DIY” guide, complete with mediation that can be done via videoconferencing starting at $749. A similar app, Separate.us, gives users the ability to complete, file, and even serve their divorce papers online for between $1,000 and $3,000.
Avvo, which has served as an online legal marketplace for years, now offers a divorce package for couples looking for an uncontested divorce. The offer includes a 30-minute phone call for $995.
Divorce Apps Good or Bad?
Sure, some simple divorces can be handled through a simple process. But when is divorce ever truly “simple”? “The critical thing is that you don’t have a lot of disagreements or complicated externalities,” says Josh King, Avvo’s general counsel and consumer advocate. “These products are designed to cover a wide range of people that have a fairly routine legal problem.”
Most divorces require at least some form of counseling or legal advice. “If they have no assets and no children, you can do one of those divorces, no harm, no foul,” says John Slowiaczek, president-elect of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
“It’s never that simple,” Slowiaczek says. “Couples argue over the Christmas decorations; it’s always about getting in the last dig and that’s why the Pro Se divorces or divorce apps don’t make sense.”
That’s when you’ll want to turn to an attorney that can walk you through the process. Here’s a little bit of information on what the divorce process is.
The Divorce Process
The necessary steps for obtaining your divorce will be dependent on the particulars of your relationship. It’s important to remember that during divorce, all the agreements will affect the rest of your life. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’ve crossed all your t’s and dotted all your eyes. For this reason alone, it might make sense to hire an experienced attorney. “When you look at divorce it’s the rest of your life,” says Slowiaczek. “It’s like a wedding, and people don’t think twice about spending $6,000 to $8,000 for flowers or $10,000 for a honeymoon.”
The dissolution of a marriage in which the parties have been married for a short period of time, have no children, and little property or debts will most likely be less involved than a divorce where the couple has been married for a long period of time, shares minor children, or where there is significant property or debt to be divided. The question of if both parties are seeking the divorce will also determine the ease at which they are granted that divorce. A partner not wanting the divorce might respond in a way that allows them to prolong the process. If a couple can both agree to the divorce the process can be much smoother and quicker. This also applies to the agreement process because if a couple is bogged down with fighting and disagreements over everything, the process will be much slower.
Petition for Divorce
To start the divorce process one of the spouses must file a petition. Even if both spouses are in agreement, one of them will have to file a petition with the court asking for the divorce. This petition states the grounds for the divorce. These vary from state to state. California is a no-fault state, meaning no fault is placed on either party regardless of infidelity, etc… All jurisdictions allow for some type of no-fault grounds such as “irreconcilable differences.” Some states will consider fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abandonment. Your attorney will be able to advise you on if fault grounds are available in your state, and if so, whether or not it makes sense to file for divorce on fault grounds.
Temporary Orders for Support and Custody
If one spouse is seeking financial support or custody of children, that spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. A temporary order is usually granted within a few days of the initial petition. It remains in effect until the full divorce court hearing. If the party seeking the temporary order is the same party who is filing the petition, it’s advised that they file both the divorce petition and the temporary order at the same time. If you are not the party that filed the divorce petition but will be looking for temporary support or child support, it’s advised that you file your request for the temporary order as soon as possible. An attorney can ensure that you fill out the correct forms and file them correctly and in a timely fashion.
Proof of Service and Response
When a party files for divorce they also need to file for a proof of service of process. This document proves that a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party. This can be done through a process server, or by a lawyer. There are numerous ways to do this and you’ll want to consult a lawyer for advice on how to do this. If the parties mutually agree on the divorce, it is best for the party who files the complaint to arrange for service of process to the other party’s attorney.
Once the party receives the service of process they will need to file a response to the petition. In states where fault grounds can be filed and the responding party wants to dispute those grounds, he or she needs to address it in the response. They are able to dispute the facts alleged in the grounds for divorce. Additionally, if the party disagrees with property division, support, custody, or any other issue, this should be set out in the response.
When two divorcing spouses disagree on issues they must come to an agreement that settles their differences. Often times this is done through mediation rather than going to divorce court. During this process every aspect of a marriage is resolved: child custody and visitation, child support, property division and any spousal support. Working with a mediation lawyer can help you receive the settlement you are seeking when it comes to dissolving your marriage. It’s within your best interest to try and resolve all these issues outside of court. This will cut down on legal fees, time spent arguing, and any headaches that can come with trying to go back and forth to find an agreeable settlement. Any issues left undecided during the mediation process will have to be decided at a trial.
Order of Dissolution
Once everything is decided upon an order of dissolution is set forth. This document spells out how the property and debts are to be divided, what child custody and visitation schedule is, what support payments (spousal and child) need to be paid, and any other issues. If the parties are able to negotiate their own resolution to all of the issues, their lawyers will draft the order of dissolution and submit it to the court. If the Order of Dissolution complies with legal requirements and both parties entered into it knowingly and willingly and can attest to it, then the judge approves it. This means the divorce is finalized. If these issues cannot be resolved then a couple will have to go through divorce court and have a judge decide on the aspects of the marriage dissolution. Once that is decided an Order of Dissolution is the end result of the trial.
Working with an attorney can also be helpful if the divorce agreement is not adhered to. Having everything legally determined means there is a creation of a binding document that both spouses much adhere to. This means that if the divorce agreement is violated, you have legal backing to pursue legal action against the delinquent spouse.
Working With a Divorce Legal Team
If you are facing a divorce, you should work with an attorney that will take a vested interest in your specific situation and advise you on what you might face in a divorce regarding property division, child support and custody, and alimony. They will be able to advise you on your options. An attorney will provide support and guidance as you work towards ending your marriage.
For advice on divorce, you need the expert law firm of Law Offices of Korol and Velen, Certified Family Law Specialists.