A quick Google search for “cheap divorce lawyers in California” will yield many results from law firms claiming they offer inexpensive divorce services. However, this claim is nearly impossible to prove without a full understanding of the divorce in question! While uncontested divorces will almost always cost less than contested ones, hiring an attorney may still cost thousands more than the cheapest option.
Cost of Divorce Attorneys in Uncontested Divorces
Unlike probate attorneys, divorce lawyers in California set their own pricing for legal services. Therefore, it may be easier to find cheap divorce lawyers than cheap probate lawyers. However, that doesn’t necessarily make attorneys the most cost-effective option in most divorces. For example, according to survey results from Martindale Research’s 2015 and 2019 divorce studies, the cost of an attorney for the average divorce with no trial started at $5,000! This data demonstrates that divorce lawyers typically have personal limits determining the minimum amount they will charge for a divorce case.
Alternatives to Cheap Divorce Lawyers for Uncontested Divorces
Couples involved in uncontested divorces who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a simple marital settlement agreement probably won’t benefit from hiring even a “cheap” divorce lawyer. Instead, these individuals should consider one of the following alternatives:
1) Fill-in-the-Blank Legal Forms
If a couple agrees on all matters of a divorce, they can opt to use a “fill-in-the-blank” DIY marital settlement agreement. In fact, the California court system provides this blank paperwork for free! Then, once they have created an agreement, couples can fill out and submit the rest of the required paperwork. More specifically, all divorces require the following forms:
- Appearance, Stipulations, and Waivers (Form FL-130) OR Request to Enter Default (FL-165)
- Declaration for Default or Uncontested Dissolution or Legal Separation (Form FL-170)
- Judgment (Form FL-180)
- Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190)
- Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141) OR Stipulation and Waiver of Final Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-144) (Source: California Courts)
Furthermore, if couples have decided on issues of child, spousal, or family support; child custody or visitation orders; or separate or community property or debt division, they must complete and submit additional forms. Luckily, the California court system provides all of these fill-in-the-blank documents for free online! Plus, the court’s free self-help resources and centers are available to assist with the DIY divorce process.
With all of the information and forms readily available online, many couples may not see a need to hire a divorce lawyer. In fact, the fee for filing these documents with the California court is only $435! In essence, utilizing free resources for a DIY divorce could save couples over $4,000. Plus, parties may request a fee waiver if needed.
2) Work With a Registered Legal Document Assistant
If two divorcing parties agree on all issues but are not totally confident completing and filing legal paperwork completely on their own, there are still options! By working with a registered legal document assistant like A People’s Choice, parties can still save thousands of dollars they’d spend on a “cheap” divorce lawyer.
The legal document assistants at A People’s Choice are not attorneys, and therefore cannot provide legal advice. However, all of our employees are highly trained and experienced in California family law. As a result, they can provide assistance with appropriate and accurate completion of all family law documents. Plus, A People’s Choice even offers filing services so our clients can avoid filing paperwork with the court!
Best of all, our services are tailored to our clients’ specific needs, and are priced at low, flat fees. Unlike divorce attorneys, we charge per service – NOT per hour – so there are no surprises. In fact, our flat fees even include unlimited communication by email!
Therefore, if you are involved in an uncontested divorce, Googling “cheap divorce lawyers” is not your only option. However, you still don’t have to navigate the legal process totally alone! Instead, contact A People’s Choice to learn more about our services and how we can help you!
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