Online Divorce Oakland California
If you’re facing a divorce in the Oakland area and you search Google for “online divorce Oakland” or maybe “online divorce near me” (because Google knows you’re in the Oakland area), you’ll get 4 categories of websites on the first page of the search results. Most of those websites will either not be able to help you or you should not want them to help you. Most of them are not offering what you are looking for.
You are NOT looking for JUST a divorce. No one sells you a divorce, like it’s a pair of shoes. In fact, you cannot buy a divorce at any price.
What you’re looking for is an honest and competent professional service at a low no-BS flat fee. That online divorce professional will then perform a number of sequential actions correctly on your behalf and those actions will then lead to your local Superior Court granting you a divorce.
But you’re looking for even more than that! You don’t want to be cheated. You don’t want to pay what is advertised as a $139 complete fee and find out that it is a per month fee. Your credit card is charged every single month until your case is final. You don’t want to pay a “complete” $149 fee and then be up-sold to an ADDITIONAL $199 “premium” fee to avoid a 10-14 day delay in the delivery of your divorce docs. BTW, that’s called a ransom, not a “premium” service. And you don’t want to be tricked into hiring an online divorce company that tells you they have over 6000 client testimonials when they own the testimonial company and had the testimonial company website hosted on the same Internet server as their online divorce website. In other words, their moms wrote all of their testimonials. Their clients hate them, and I’ll show you their Better Business Bureau complaints below.
I’m going to tell you in this article how to avoid all of those problems (and more) and how to get a cheap online divorce in Oakland safely and securely. I will break this down for you into just one choice between the two best available options in today’s online divorce market. And I promise that the final choice will be easy. Read On
Online Divorce Oakland Search Results Are Dynamic
Bear in mind that search engine results are dynamic. They change constantly. What I report below was correct at the time of publication, but may not be exactly what you find if you try this at home.
Bear in mind also that it is never a bad thing to go to the second page of the search engine results or even deeper. There you will find many businesses that are excluded from the top page by various Google (or other search engine) prejudices that have nothing to do with the quality of work done by those online divorce businesses. Online divorce companies on the second and third pages of results will try harder to get your business and often do better work than businesses ranking higher in the search results.
You should definitely do your homework. Do not rely on any one source (including this article) to assist with your choice. Do follow your gut on your final choice. It will usually be right.
Avoid the Following 4 Types of “Online Divorce Oakland” Search Result Websites:
These are listed GENERALLY in order from top to bottom on the search results page.
Pay Per Click Ads by Online Divorce Companies
On the Google search engine results page, the top 4 search results and the bottom 3 search results on each page (at the time of this writing) are the paid ads. They are indicated by this image: The companies whose ads are marked by that image are paying Google for Pay Per Click. Those companies bid against each other for the top 7 ad spots on that first search results page because they know that uneducated divorce consumers are very likely going to hire someone on that top page. It’s expensive real estate and you, as a wise Oakland divorce consumer, need to know about it and avoid it. In other words, you will be educated on this topic after reading this article.
At this writing the bid required to get onto the first page for the search phrase “online divorce” is about $6. If an online divorce company using Google’s Pay Per Click bidding gets one paying client from every 20 clicks, they are doing well. The results of most companies are not that good. So if you search for “online divorce” and then click on one of the ads indicated by and then you hire one of those top 4 or bottom 3 online divorce companies on that first page, you just paid approximately $6 X 20 clicks= $120 to Google, and Google doesn’t even handle divorce!!
You thought Google search was free, right? Nothing’s free at Google Pay Per Click. You just hired a company that has to charge you $120 just to pay Google for your business before they even make $1 in profit. How smart is that – for them and you? And the company didn’t pay that money. YOU DID!! You paid it in higher fees. That’s why the large nationwide divorce website, completecase.com, charges $300 when smaller California-specific online divorce website, NetDivorce, charges $129 for the exact same service in the exact same case. How can they do that? By not being dumb enough to bid up their cost of case acquisition with Pay Per Click ads.
$129 or $300 for the same service is a fairly easy choice for most divorce consumers.
NetDivorce’s case acquisition cost is ZERO. NetDivorce pays nothing to get cases. NetDivorce uses ONLY what is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – a wide range of fairly complex and time-consuming organic practices that enhances NetDivorce’s ability to get its unpaid ad on that top search results page somewhere in between the top 4 and the bottom 3. In other words, by spending a lot of time to make good videos and write high quality interesting articles, like this one, containing information divorce consumers want to know and will spend time reading, NetDivorce EARNS its position on page 1. NetDivorce doesn’t buy its position. NetDivorce earns it. And it costs nothing if you handle your SEO in-house, which NetDivorce does. And NetDivorce is very good at SEO. You will never see our ads in the top 4 or the bottom 3. You will usually see our ad somewhere in the middle of the first or second search engine results pages.
So don’t hire a company dumb enough and lazy enough to play the Pay Per Click game. They play. You pay. Hire someone from that middle section on the Google search engine page – below the top 4 and above the bottom 3. They earned that position, and they’ve earned your business.
NetDivorce and completecase.com make about the same net profit per case – about $120. NetDivorce charges $129. Completecase,com charges $300. Same profit. Hire someone smarter from the SEO section of the search results page and don’t pay for anyone’s dumb-ass case-acquisition cost!!
Avoid Superior Court Websites
Any kind of search that includes “divorce” and “Oakland” will bring you Oakland area Superior Court and related government websites. Those might be useful if you don’t have a life and you want to sign up to attend divorce workshops to be presented by county social workers to you and a few dozen other Oakland divorce consumers. They usually have such seminars every other month. They don’t prepare the divorce paperwork for you. They teach you how to do it yourself.
At the time I conducted the search “online divorce Oakland” several times in order to write this article, I got 3 court websites on the first page of the search results. Your results may vary. I’ve seen as many as 5 court related websites in the top ten results on that first page of results. Somebody at Google thinks that court websites are going to help if you search for “online divorce Oakland.” Well, you will file your case at the local Superior Court but you are not going to find any realistic help from court websites in preparing your specific case correctly and in any sort of reasonable time frame. Court websites cannot provide any advice on your case. They hand out brochures and other materials that tell you how to handle your own divorce. These are of informational value, no doubt, but not of any practical value.
Again, this may change over time. It just doesn’t make any sense that a Oakland divorce consumer searching for “online divorce” would be shown Superior Court websites. It’s a Google prejudice. Don’t waste your time on it.
Avoid “Soft” Websites
What does that include? It includes sites that offer “how-to” posts or videos. It also includes “feel-good” sites such as those that offer divorce counseling or coaching or emotional help with divorce. I’m not saying that these sites do not provide any value. I’m saying that if you’re in the market for an honest competent professional divorce service, these aren’t it. Find secondary divorce sites in a separate search. Limit yourself to resolving your primary goal of obtaining a cost-effective online divorce in Oakland with the least pain attached.
Wiki-How how-to posts and YouTube videos will not be of great value because they are too generic. They will never have enough information to assist you in the specific facts of your individual case. Any such video would need to be hours long if it had enough info and then you’d still need to ask questions to help you get your specific online divorce.
As Google gets better at determining the intent of Oakland divorce consumers, you will find fewer of these “soft” websites showing up on the first page of results.
Avoid Almost All Online Divorce Mills
Your “online divorce Oakland” search will also bring you 6 to 9 big nationwide online divorce mills on the first page of results. Most of those are within the paid section. So you should avoid them for that reason alone (see the Pay-per-Click section above). You will also often see 2 or 3 of them in the “organic” results in between the top and bottom paid results.
If you make the mistake of actually going to one or more of the big nationwide divorce mill websites, you will find enough up-selling, fraud and trickery to make even a pyramid-scheme pitchman blush.
In fact, here is a pyramid-scheme/ get-rich-quick pitchman who owns at least 2 of those online divorce mills. His name is Jason McClain. His partner in the online pyramid scams is a convicted fraudster from the Ukraine. Some of their scams have now been closed down, but Jason McClain is still the owner and operator of mydivorcepapers.com and idivorceforms.com, two of the most fraudulent tricksters and up-sellers in the online divorce industry. You’ll need to wash your hands afterwards if you read through mydivorcepapers.com’s 78 Better Business Bureau complaints.
I’ve written frequently about all kinds of online divorce fraud in the past: online divorce sign up trickery, lying about how long it takes to complete an online divorce interview, price fraud, free divorce forms bait-and-switch, and one of my all time favorites, the client testimonial fraud of the aforementioned Jason McClain, who was dumb enough to have his own certified testimonial website hosted on the same server as his online divorce mills. In other words, he was writing or at least controlling the writing of thousands of his own testimonials telling Oakland divorce consumers how happy his clients were with his online divorce companies. This particular fraud is kinda funny – until you realize that YOU are the target. This testimonial fraud continues to be used as of this writing.
The following table details some of the fraud and competence problems of the top 4 online divorce companies in the California market.
|completecase.com||$299||Price Fraud - This fee is for the first 30 days only.|
|getdivorcepapers.com||$139||1. Price Fraud - This fee is for the first 30 days only. |
2. Based in India
3. Incompetent - 105 complaints and F rating at BBB
|onlinedivorce.com||$139||1. Price Fraud - This fee is for the first 30 days only.|
2. Labeled as misleading advertisers by BBB.
3. Incompetent - 74 complaints and F rating at BBB
|mydivorcepapers.com||$139||1. Price Fraud - This fee is for the first 30 days only.|
2. Incompetent - 80 complaints and F rating by BBB.
3. Uses self-owned fake client testimonial site.
Are ALL online divorce companies fraudulent and incompetent? No. My company, NetDivorce, is definitely honest and competent – with 37+ years of California divorce under our belts. Despite its inclusion in the table above for a very disappointing piece of price fraud, completecase.com is still a good and experienced company that does decent work at $299 for a one month usage period. 3stepdivorce.com is also an honest, well-experienced and competent company at $299. You would not go wrong, apart from that silly price fraud by completecase.com (now that you know about it), with any of these highly experienced firms.
Why Should You Listen To Me About Online Divorce?
For the average divorce consumer heading into his or her first divorce, the information available from a simple online search is not just confusing. It’s downright dangerous. What do you believe? What do you absolutely avoid? What should you key on in your hiring decision? Two things only, and I will tell you what they are, but firstly, here’s why I know.
My name is Peter O’Hanlon. I’ve been a barrister in the UK since July 1976. I obtained my law degree at age 20 and was called to the Bar of England and Wales at age 21, the youngest possible age. I practiced criminal law in the UK in the late 70’s and later private international business law in California in the 90’s.
I own and operate 1-800-DIVORCE, the nationwide network of independent family lawyers. I wrote the world’s first complete divorce software package (for California divorce) in 1983-84. In joint venture, I put up the world’s first online divorce website (for California only) at divorceweb.com in March 1999. From 1981 to 2001, I owned and operated California Legal Assistance Centers, which pioneered divorce by mail in California in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve been the founder and CEO of netdivorce.com, the premier California online divorce provider, specializing only in California divorce online, since 1999. I founded the Online Divorce Association of America and wrote its Code of Ethics in September 2016. I’ve been on the front lines of California divorce since June 1981.
In January 2017, I launched Online Divorce Lawyer, a cloud-based suite of online divorce tools designed to assist local California divorce lawyers to cut their costs and to fight back against the online divorce mills (usually located out of state or in India) that have been beating them to the punch for local uncontested divorce business for the last 20 years. The advantages to you of hiring a local divorce lawyer on an unbundled basis (they prepare and review all of your docs and you do the legwork of filing the case at court) are huge. Most online divorce mills will charge you $300 for remarkably few divorce forms, and they do not specialize in California law or procedures.
At Online Divorce Lawyer, you get a local divorce lawyer on your team and you only pay for the services determined by the facts of your case. If your case remains uncontested and you don’t need additional legal services (that would not be offered by online divorce mills anyway), your fee can often be at or moderately higher than $300, typically in the range of $400-800. You also get legal advice and the insurance policy of a lawyer who knows your case standing by in case problems arise.
Here’s the Easy Choice I Promised
What is it that you need to look for in your divorce hiring decision? The only 2 factors you need to consider are cost and integrity. Integrity includes not just personal honesty but also knowledge of local divorce laws and court policies. Where can you find BOTH an advantageous cost for your low cost California divorce online AND the integrity of someone who is skilled and knowledgeable in California divorce and does not need to trick you, cheat you or up-sell you?
Here are the only two options:
And here’s your simple and easy choice: If you want to pay a flat fee of $129 for a complete online divorce with no ups or extras ever and you don’t mind not having a lawyer on your team because you are certain that your case is uncontested and simple, hire NetDivorce.
If you want a local lawyer on your team and don’t mind paying a little more, usually in the $400-800 range, go to Online Divorce Lawyer and find the Online Divorce Lawyer nearest to you. It’s as simple as that. I hope this has helped you and good luck in your case.