Divorce is not an easy process. What if there were a better way?
There is! — At least if you believe some of the advertisements out there for an online divorce, or an “easy divorce.”
Once advertisers realize you are separated, you will probably start to see some of these advertisements. Some claim you can file online. Some offer an easy step-by-step process for your paperwork. These might seem like a fantastic option: you can avoid a lawyer, save money, and get it done quickly, without going to court.
In truth, these ads aren’t being truthful. First, you cannot “file” for divorce online. No matter what process you use, you must physically take the paperwork to the Wake County Courthouse (assuming you live in Wake County).
Next, yes, you can find separation agreements and other divorce documents online. But they are generally terrible. One of our divorce workshop presenters, attorney Justin Mauney, offered this wisdom:
“I begin all of my presentations at Second Saturday talking about how each case is different (and to therefore be wary of ‘armchair lawyers’ or well-intentioned friends that may offer legal advice); and I believe the same advice applies tenfold to online forms. Every divorce is different, and no form can possibly explain or capture all of the options that would be explored in drafting and negotiating a Separation Agreement and Property Settlement. … I would tell anyone that there is absolutely no substitute for the ‘custom’ advice and drafting of an experienced family law attorney.”
Justin acknowledges it sounds self-serving for a divorce lawyer to urge people to use divorce lawyers. But despite all the lawyer jokes out there, most people go into divorce law to help. And while online forms may seem appealing, unfortunately, divorce is one of those things that simply does not have an “easy” button.