The divorce process can be very expensive. Even if you choose to represent yourself, there are divorce fees you’ll be required to pay, which can cost your several hundred dollars. Fortunately, it’s still possible to get a divorce with no money. Here are a few ways to get a divorce with no court fees if you’re in a difficult financial situation.
Divorce Fee Waiver for Indigents
In case you’re wondering how you can file a divorce without any cash, you’ll be happy to know that most states have a fee waiver procedure or an indigent divorce procedure that will let you file for a divorce and request the court to waive all of the court fees associated with the legal process of getting a divorce. The procedure is specifically meant to offer assistance to people in difficult financial positions to exit their marriages.
Obtaining Divorce Forms
When getting divorce, the first step in getting your fees waived is to get the necessary divorce forms. You should first check online to see if your local divorce or family court could provide you with them. Most of them will have divorce forms that you can download and print. Aside from getting the files to file for a divorce, you will also need to get the forms to ask for a fee waiver. Be sure to check if there is any instruction booklet that should guide you through the entire process.
Alternatively, you can go directly to the courthouse and ask for the forms from the clerk there. In case you have any questions or are unsure about anything, they might be able to help you complete the forms. Ensure that you’ve met the residency requirements of your state before filling in the forms, as you can’t file in your state unless you’ve met these requirements.
Fill in the information as requested, making sure the details are as accurate as possible. Include information about your children, any debts that you might have, the assets of the marriage, the date you married, as well as the reason for the divorce. You should also indicate whether you’re requesting for child support, division of marital assets, or alimony.
Provide Financial Proof
For you to have the fees of the divorce process waived, you’ll have to proof to the court that you are indeed poor or indigent. You will have to include proof of income, which ideally includes any income you receive from various sources including payroll, Social Security, disability, and child support. You also need to include your assets including things like cars and bank accounts, as well as your debts such as loans, credit cards, and utility bills.
Tax returns can also be requested. The forms should inform you about the documents that the court will need. Fortunately, you can gather this information quite easily, since everyone filing for a divorce will have to provide financial disclosure to the court, meaning that this is not necessarily an extra step.
Filing for a Free Waiver
Once you’ve successfully completed all the paper work, the next step is filing the papers. The documents have to be notarized, which you can do at your local bank. If you don’t have one, you can request the clerk to notarize the paperwork when you go to the court to file them but letting them know I need a divorce lawyer for free.
After filing the paperwork, the court will review the documents in due time ideally by the judge or a court staff. A hearing might be necessary, and the judge might have to ask you further questions. The fee waiver might be approved by the court, or it may choose to defer the fee for you, meaning you’ll have to pay them back at a later date. This decision is quite common if the ex-spouse has assets that will be paid out to you based on the divorce settlement of judgement.
If your fee waiver application is accepted, the case can now progress. The easiest way to move forward fast is filing a settlement or appearing in court together and telling the judge what your settlement is. You can alternatively move ahead with the divorce as an uncontested procedure, where your spouse won’t even have to appear. The procedure is relatively quick, and you might be able to get your divorce without having to pay any fees.
In case you’re unable to handle the DIY divorce where you need to look for, prepare, and file all the papers by yourself, you can take advantage of the legal aid society in your locality or a volunteer lawyers program via the local bar association. Contact your state or city bar association to ask for the contact information about these or perform an internet search to find one.
Such organizations will provide you with legal assistance at no cost or at very low prices. In case you’re indigent, they might offer to represent you at virtually no cost and do the necessary paperwork and file the fee waiver papers on your behalf.
Fortunately, you don’t need to have any money by your name to file for a divorce. However, you do need to know the procedures and requirements set up by your state to benefit from the court fee waivers. This can be a huge relief for anyone looking to get out of a bad marriage but lacks the funds to do so.
It’s not uncommon for separating couples to borrow funds from their friends and family. Valuable assets or personal property belonging to you, such as an engagement ring can also be sold off to get the funds needed for filing for a divorce. Although it might be difficult to part with something that holds some sentimental value, it might be a necessary step to get out of a bad marriage and secure your future.
If you choose to get a family law attorney, you have the option of writing to the spouse’s attorney or the spouse to ask for funds to let you move forward with the divorce process and negotiating a settlement for your marriage problems. Be sure to talk these options with your lawyer so that you can be sure that all the ramifications of any actions you take are carefully considered.