When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on all of the major issues in a divorce, you may be able to save time and money by pursuing an online divorce. In our modern society, getting a divorce online has become more popular than ever. If you have a busy schedule and want to protect your finances and mental health by getting a divorce as quickly as possible, pursuing an online divorce can be effective. However, some downsides come with pursuing an online divorce. An online divorce may not be the best option for couples with complicated issues or children. Understanding online divorce’s pros and cons can help you make an informed, strategic decision.
What is an “Online” Divorce?
Traditionally, when a couple decides to get divorced, they both hire an attorney and pay their attorneys an hourly rate to represent them throughout the divorce process. Many attorneys charge hundreds of dollars per hour, and the expense of paying an attorney hourly can add up quickly. An online divorce allows you to use technology to assist you in pursuing a divorce. The phrase online divorce can be misleading. In some cases, it is possible to get a divorce completely online without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. However, doing the paperwork for your divorce with the assistance of an online program is legal.
The purpose of pursuing an online divorce is to use an online divorce platform to prepare all of the necessary legal forms for your divorce case. Many online divorce programs also offer client care, references to relevant legal information, and instructional assistance.
You will complete a questionnaire about your case when you pursue an online divorce. After completing the questionnaire, you can receive all of your divorce paperwork electronically. Generally, you will receive your paperwork in about two business days. Pursuing an online divorce can save you significant time and money because the professional documents will be ready to be printed, signed, and filed with the appropriate court in your county.
Am I Eligible for an Online Divorce in Texas?
Online divorce is allowed in texas. However, not every Texas court accepts forms that were generated online by an online divorce service. You may be required to fill out the forms in person. However, you can use an attorney or an online website to fill out the paperwork. Many people choose to hire an attorney to file the forms for them. Nonetheless, it is legal and can save you money to file the forms yourself.
Texas recognizes fault-based and no-fault divorce. Most people who get divorced pursue a no-fault divorce because it is usually easier and less expensive. In other words, you do not have to prove that your spouse was at fault to pursue a divorce in texas. You and your spouse will need to agree that your marriage is irreparably broken to pursue a no-fault divorce, but you do not have to prove which spouse caused the breakdown of the marriage.
Texas Residency Requirements for Divorce
In order to be eligible for a Texas divorce, you will also need to meet Texas residency requirements. Living in Texas does not necessarily mean you meet the residency requirements. Instead, you or your spouse will need to prove that you have lived in Texas for at least six months. If you file for divorce, you will need to show that you have lived in the county in which you want to file for at least 90 days. What happens if your soon-to-be ex-spouse lives in a different state? In that case, a Texas Court will have jurisdiction over your soon-to-be exposed in the following instances:
- You live together in Texas during in your marital relationship
- The court would also have jurisdiction over any minor children you share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse
- The court’s jurisdiction over your spouse would not violate any other state or federal laws
Minor children of divorcing parents must have lived in Texas for at least six months or since they were born for a Texas court to have jurisdiction over them. If the residency requirements are not met, a Texas judge will not be able to make decisions about child custody. For example, if you meet the residency requirements yourself, but your children do not, or if they currently live in a different state, you may not meet the residency requirements to pursue a divorce.
Residency Requirements for Military Members Pursuing an Online Divorce
If you are a military service member stationed in Texas, you will need to show that you have been stationed in Texas for at least six months in order to file for divorce. Any time you have spent outside of Texas or in a certain county is still considered residents in Texas and in that county. To successfully pursue an online divorce, you will need to make sure that you meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in Texas.
How Does the Online Divorce Process Work in Texas?
The first step in the online divorce process is for you and your spouse to agree on all the major issues in your divorce. Agreeing on the division of property, custody issues, and other issues related to your divorce will help you save money and time. In most online divorce services, clients fill out an easy-to-understand questionnaire.
The online divorce program should meet Texas legal requirements for your particular case. An online divorce program should ensure that once the process is complete, you have all of your required Texas state forms, Texas-specific filing instructions, and the ability to revise your documents as long as your account is active.
The process will begin by answering questions that should be easy to understand. Once you answer a few questions, the online divorce system will build the completed forms for you. The process is usually quick and does not involve paying an attorney their hourly fees or waiting weeks to have your documents drawn up so you can file them with the court. After you register and answer some questions through the questionnaire, an online divorce platform will ensure you have the right forms for your county in Texas.
The forms will be completed for you through the online system. Once completed, you can download the forms to your account with your computer, or the system can mail them to you directly, depending on your preferences. There are three main steps you will need to take to complete the online divorce process in Texas:
- Review the Texas legal requirements to determine whether you are eligible to file for a divorce in Texas
- Complete the Texas-specific online divorce questionnaire at your convenience on your computer
- Print the completed forms and file your paperwork with the appropriate court using the instructions provided to you by the online divorce platform.
The Benefits of Pursuing an Online Divorce
Many different benefits come with pursuing an online divorce. Online divorces are usually simpler, cheaper, and faster than hiring an attorney and pursuing a traditional divorce. If you are eligible to get divorced in Texas and you and your spouse agree on all the major issues in the divorce, it is worth considering pursuing an online divorce to save yourself time, money, and stress.
Online Divorces are Faster
For many, when the decision to get divorced has been made, they want to get it done as quickly as possible. As someone considering getting divorced, you may already be thinking about your future and your new normal. You may be hoping to get to that point as quickly as possible so you can put the past behind you and move on. When you hire an attorney with a traditional law firm, you are one of many clients, and you may have to wait until they can fit you into your schedule. After you meet with them, you will need to wait for them to prepare your legal documents. You will also have to wait on your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s attorney to respond to requests for information, which can hold up the process even longer.
When pursuing an online divorce, there is no need to meet with an attorney two, three, or even more times before you can file the paperwork. You can get the paperwork done in a matter of hours or within a week. The faster you can get your divorce paperwork to the courthouse, the faster you can end your marriage and move on with your life. You will not have to be inconvenienced with taking time off work, driving across town, and waiting for your attorney and ex’s attorney to complete the paperwork.
Online Divorces Allow You to Save Money
Most attorneys who work at an hourly rate charge hundreds of dollars an hour. Getting a divorce can easily cost $10,000, even if you have a relatively simple divorce. The cost of getting a divorce through traditional methods can vary greatly, but getting an online divorce is always cheaper than hiring an attorney. The low price point of online divorce is one of the greatest advantages of using this type of service.
Generally, it is only a few hundred dollars to complete the forms online. One visit with an attorney can easily cost $300 or more. With most online divorce services, you will need to use a credit card to secure your divorce packets but will not need to pay until the papers are complete and ready to file.
You May Not Need to Go to Court
In many cases, you will not need to appear before the court when you pursue an online divorce. Preparing your paperwork online and waiving your right to appeal could mean you do not need to see your soon-to-be ex-spouse or go before the court. As long as you agree on everything, most judges will finalize your divorce based on your submitted paperwork. However, the judge may have questions in other cases and require you to appear in court.
Pursuing an Online Divorce Puts You in Control
When you decide to pursue an online divorce, it puts you in control. You will not need to make expensive phone calls to your attorney’s office to answer questions and wait for your attorney to respond. You will know what is happening with your divorce because you will be in charge of completing the questionnaire and going through the process. When you receive the documents, you will be in charge of submitting the documents to the court. You also will not have to wait for a legal secretary or paralegal to pass messages on to you.
You will remain in control of the entire process. Nobody knows your unique situation better than you. Since you will be answering the questions in the questionnaire, the computer will be filling in the blanks. It can be difficult to make a mistake. Although errors and documents can slow down the divorce process, sometimes it’s easier for an attorney to make an error than you to make an error because you are more familiar with your situation, including your assets and liabilities.
The Cons of Pursuing an Online Divorce
Pursuing an online divorce sounds easy enough. Still, there are some disadvantages to choosing an online divorce administration. One of the downsides is uniformity. When you go through the online divorce process, you will be using a prepackaged, cut-out divorce plan.
If your legal situation is more complicated, it may not fit well within that form. As a result, you could be left navigating legal issues on your own. For that reason, pursuing an online divorce is only really effective in uncontested divorce cases. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all of the major terms of their divorce, including child custody, alimony, and the division of assets and debts.
An Online Divorce is Not Possible if There are Contested Issues in Your Divorce
It is difficult for most divorcing couples to agree on every aspect of their divorce. Even if you have a good relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, there can be one or more issues that you just cannot resolve. For example, if your spouse is trying to avoid paying you alimony or wants full custody of your children, you cannot pursue an online divorce. You will benefit from hiring an attorney to protect your interests and fight for you to receive a fair divorce settlement. If there are children involved or safety concerns, it is even more important that you work with an attorney.
Without speaking to an attorney, you could regret filling out paperwork online. Online divorces are not the best solution for everyone, especially during contested divorces. Paying an attorney is worth the money when you could lose everything, including custody of your children.
Paperwork is Not Reviewed By Attorneys
Some online services do not have attorneys on staff. Paralegals may make sure the information in the documents is correct, but some online services do not even use the services of paralegals. In most cases, if you have an uncontested divorce and do not have complex issues, you may not need an attorney. Using an online service can help you save money. However, there are some instances in which it is worth it to have an attorney look over your paperwork before you follow it.
Texas Laws Can Be Complex
If you have complicated issues involved in your divorce, it may require a more nuanced approach to filing your paperwork. Most online services cannot account for nuanced issues or identify red flags that an attorney could identify by asking you questions and reviewing all of the facts in your case. Some jurisdictions may require different forms and additional items that the online divorce service may not account for. When you look for an online service, it is important that you verify that they provide paperwork in your unique jurisdiction.
You are Representing Yourself in Your Divorce
Working with an online divorce service makes obtaining the paperwork you need to file for a divorce easy, but you will still be representing yourself in court. You may be vulnerable to potential technical pitfalls, and you may end up missing important deadlines. Missing deadlines can have serious negative consequences. An attorney can help you understand when paperwork must be filed, helping you avoid the consequences of missing deadlines.
Beware of Scam Websites
If you are considering pursuing an online divorce, it is crucial that you are careful that there are scammers out there. Before entering your credit card information and signing up with an online divorce service, you should review the company. You may want to check ratings with the Better Business Bureau and see what customers have said. Customer reviews can help you gain a lot of insight, and you should only work with a company that is reputable to avoid being scammed and losing your money.
Not All Types of Cases are Well-Suited for Online Divorce
The more complex your divorce, the more likely you will benefit from hiring an attorney to represent you. Online divorce works best for couples who have already agreed on all of the major issues in their divorce. If your case involves any of the following issues, pursuing an online divorce will probably not be in your best interest:
- You will need spousal maintenance, which is a type of financial support from the other spouse after you divorce
- You or your spouse on a home or other real estate
- Child custody or residential time with one or more children will be in question, including if you or your spouse want to move after the divorce
- You have children with special needs, such as mental, physical, or educational needs
- You have children who are exceptional at sports or deeply involved with their academics
- There has been domestic violence in the marriage or other safety issues
- One or both spouses have addictions such as pornography or gambling
- One or both spouses have substance abuse issues, such as street drugs, prescription drug abuse, marijuana, or alcohol
- You or your spouse own a business, or you are part of a family business
- You or your spouse are creators, artists, or have other jobs in which you receive royalties
- There are unpaid taxes, unfiled tax returns, or other tax-related issues
- There are complex debt issues
- Aging spouses
- Long-term marriages, which include being married 20 years or longer
- You or your spouse brought the property into the marriage or were given gifts or inheritances during the marriage, and the intent or disposition of the gifts is now a dispute
- You or your spouse’s immigration status could be impacted because of the divorce
- You or your spouse are in the military, and a military retirement exists for either spouse
- You were your spouse to have retirement accounts, pensions, or other deferred income assets
Even if your unique situation does not involve any of the situations listed above, your unique circumstances may require an attorney’s assistance to protect your and your children’s interests. Again, the most appropriate type of case for an online divorce is for a divorce with no children, no real estate, and few assets. However, even in an uncontested divorce, When both spouses think they have agreed on all the major issues, it is common for unforeseen conflict to arise, making an uncontested divorce difficult, if not impossible.
Need Help With Doing Divorce Your Way? Divorce Concierge Can Help
At Divorce Concierge, we help McKinney, Texas-area clients pursue affordable, quick divorces. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on all of the major aspects of your divorce, pursuing an online divorce may be a beneficial option for you. We offer clients affordable divorce packages. When you purchase one of our packages, you will know exactly how much you are spending on your divorce.
There will not be any surprise legal fees because we do not charge clients on an hourly basis like traditional attorneys. If you would like to learn more about whether you are eligible for an online divorce, do not hesitate to contact Divorce Concierge and schedule a free case evaluation.