Do You Really Want a Cheap Divorce in California?
The obvious and correct answer is, “yes,” but it’s still a trick question. What is a cheap divorce in California?
You have to define what a cheap California divorce is so that you can know one when you see it.
A cheap divorce, a low cost divorce or an affordable divorce are all relative to the facts of your case. There is no dollar figure in costs that automatically qualifies as a cheap California divorce.
If you have a $10 million marital estate, both of you pull down 6 figures, there are large retirement plans to be divided, an active business to be valued and, while you are both generally in agreement, there are a couple of sticky issues remaining, then a $3500-$5000 lawyer’s fee each, and maybe another $2500 on any necessary mediation to resolve remaining issues, IS a cheap divorce – a VERY cheap divorce – relative to the facts of your divorce.
What You Really Want is a Cheap ONLINE Divorce in California
A cheap online divorce in California is the brass ring, but to get the cost-reduction, convenience and empowerment of online divorce, you must have an uncontested divorce in which there are no complex issues, no high-value marital estate and no domestic violence or threats of domestic violence.
If you qualify on those bases, then yes, you really do want a cheap online divorce in California.
Conversely to the situation above where you pay a lot of money in a high-value case, if you have a simple uncontested California divorce, like most people do, and you pay $300 to an unqualified out-of-country online divorce mill like onlinedivorce dot com and they completely screw up your case and you end up paying for their mistakes for years or have to hire a $7500 lawyer to correct their mistakes, that’s NOT a cheap divorce. It just seemed like it at the beginning.
The purpose of this article is to show you how to avoid a fake cheap online divorce in California from conmen outfits like onlinedivorce dot com and get a REAL cheap online divorce in California instead.
How do Cheap Online Divorces in California Often Go So Bad So Fast?
Well, in many different ways, but generally because of fraud and/or incompetence by the foreign online divorce mill. They often go bad because of price fraud, incompetence hidden by fake client testimonials and fake reviews, sign-up trickery, blatant, never-ending up-selling, or just plain terrible service or client support.
But even if they screw you over on price, most fake cheap online divorces in California go bad because almost all online divorce mills simply don’t know what they are doing.
There are three steps in most California uncontested divorces: (1) prepare and file the first batch of docs at your local Superior Court; (2) have the filed first batch of docs plus the un-filed disclosure batch of docs served on your spouse/partner to begin the 6-month minimum waiting period; and (3) 31 days after your spouse/partner has been served, file the default and judgment batch of docs at your local Superior Court. That final step applies to the Superior Court for a judgment to be signed by the judge and for the marriage or domestic partnership to be terminated.
What typically happens when you hire an unlicensed, unregulated out-of-state online divorce mill is that they can get the first 2 steps done quite easily. Those first 2 steps are easy because no one at the Superior Court looks closely at the content of the first filing batch. The intake clerk will check for general completion of the forms and for dates and signatures on the forms, but they don’t check the actual content of your case when it is first filed. Anyone can throw together that first batch and get it filed and then served on the other party, because, again, no one from the court checks the first batch and no one but your spouse/partner ever sees the disclosure batch.
However, when you get to the default and judgment batch, the content of that first filing batch (from at least 31 days before) suddenly becomes very important retroactively. If it wasn’t done right, you’ve got problems. The content of that first filing batch has to be correct based on what will be requested in your judgment batch later in the case – after the 31 day delay. If it isn’t, guess what. You’re back to square one. You might have lost your date of service of papers and you might have to prepare and file and re-serve amended paperwork.
Additionally, the judgment batch itself is incredibly complex and often contains over 100 sheets of paper and many dozens of complex intertwined issues, particularly if there are children of the marriage. So not only can you get boomeranged by that first filing batch but by any one of dozens and dozens of factors that ALL have to be perfect in that judgment batch.
So it’s very easy to get to pre-judgment stage. Anyone can do it. But that’s when an online divorce provider begins to earn its fee. And most (but not all) online divorce mills are simply clueless about your state’s laws and your local county’s practices and Rules of Court when it gets to the much more difficult judgment stage of your case.
So your judgment gets rejected and the court uses technical language in the rejection letter. You won’t even understand what is wrong in most cases. And suddenly you can’t get hold of the online divorce mill. It’s out of state or in India. They stop returning your calls. When you do get through (because their new clients have to be able to reach them to pay them so that they can get screwed a month later too), you’re just put on hold or told that your “caseworker” will call you back in 3 or 4 days.
And why would they ever call you back? They’ve got your money. They’re somewhere else – well beyond the reach of your local Police or District Attorney – if you can even find out where they are. If they call you back, they have to do additional work without any more money, and they already have demonstrated they don’t know how to do that work anyway. So they are not going to do the right thing and stand up for you, because they don’t have to!
Better Business Bureau or Yelp complaints? Forget it. They’ve already got hundreds of them. They don’t matter. Online Divorce Fraud pays incredibly well. If they get an extra 10 or 12 BBB complaints, rogue online divorce mills just pay someone on Fiverr to write another 500 bogus client testimonials on Yat Po or whatever out-of-country testimonial service they are using. Or they will just initiate some new fraud or roll out the next 4 or 5 online divorce websites they always have waiting ready to be launched when the reputations of the old ones get too bad. Your online complaints will not harm them at all.
After your case has been rejected by the court (often for the third or fifth time), the online divorce mills just wear you down until you hire a local lawyer at $5000-$7500 to finalize your uncontested case.
That $300 seemed like a cheap online divorce in California, but you ended up throwing good money after bad. That’s NOT a cheap online divorce in California.
And divorce is tough enough anyway without this additional frustration that is so easily avoided if you know what to look for.
Who Are the Main Frauds To Avoid?
I’ll just leave this table here. These are the 4 biggest and most active online divorce mills 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.
So How To Get a Cheap Online Divorce in California?
It’s actually a lot easier than I’ve made it sound above. What I’ve told you above is all true, but it’s relatively easy to avoid almost all the problems just because you now know what they look like.
Below I’m going to give you three options – all of which will result in a REAL cheap online divorce in California by an honest local online divorce provider. And it will be a relatively easy choice for you. You just have to determine what are the most important factors for you in your own case. Make the service provider fit you and your case. Don’t jump through hoops to fit the fraudulent profile of an online divorce mill in India, Ukraine or Mexico.
Here are the three choices for a REAL cheap online divorce in California. I’ve listed the benefits of each. Pick the few that are important to you. Then click on the option that includes most of your important factors:
- CHEAP! – $129 Flat Fee with no ups or extras EVER. You cannot pay us more. This is NOT a monthly subscription like most fees in the online divorce industry these days.
- NetDivorce even tells you how we are so cheap. It’s not a secret.
- NetDivorce specializes in ONLY California divorce. We are experts at California uncontested divorce.
- NetDivorce and its pre-Internet company, California Legal Assistance Centers, has been handling California divorce since June 1, 1981.
- Owned and operated by a lawyer (not a California lawyer).
- NetDivorce owns its own wicked-cool online divorce software. Peter wrote the world’s first divorce software package (for California divorce) in 1983-84.
- In joint venture, NetDivorce put up the world’s first online divorce website at divorceweb.com in March, 1999.
- Unlimited expert client support from Peter and Ed on phone, email and live chat Monday-Friday 7 AM-7 PM
- Best REAL client testimonials in the online divorce industry. All you have to do is to read our client testimonials to understand the quality of NetDivorce service.
- Online Divorce by a local California-licensed Legal Document Assistant NEAR YOU
- Same wicked-cool online divorce software as NetDivorce uses.
- California licensed and bonded – subject to strict continuing legal education and ethical requirements.
- California Legal Document Assistants specialize in California divorce. They KNOW your local Superior Court and its Rules of Court.
- STILL CHEAP – Each Online Divorce PRO Legal Document Assistant is independently owned and operated. Look for fees in the range of $500-$800 for an uncontested divorce.
- If face-time is important to you, this is the way to go. You can make an appointment and go in to see someone in a local office.
- Members of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants.
- Online Divorce by a local California-licensed divorce lawyer NEAR YOU! This really is the Best of Both Worlds! The convenience, cost-reduction and self-empowerment of online divorce PLUS a California local licensed lawyer on your team.
- Same wicked-cool online divorce software as NetDivorce uses.
- California licensed – subject to strict continuing legal education and ethical requirements of the California Bar Association.
- California divorce lawyers specialize in California divorce. They KNOW your local Superior Court and its Rules of Court.
- STILL CHEAP – Each Online Divorce Lawyer is an independently owned and operated law firm. Look for fees in the range of $700-$2500 for an un-bundled uncontested divorce service.
- If face-time is important to you, this is the way to go. You can make an appointment and go in to see a lawyer in a local office.
- Most Online Divorce Lawyers offer unbundled services – where you will only pay for the actual lawyer services you need. This is cost-effective. You will do most of the legwork, like filing the case and having your spouse/partner served (it’s easy) and the lawyer will provide document review and case strategy.
- The Online Divorce Lawyer option is completely scale-able. If your case blows up into a contested divorce or if you just need a small amount of additional legal advice, your Online Divorce Lawyer is ready to react, and you will always know in advance what your costs will be.
- This is like a divorce insurance policy – you have a California divorce lawyer on your team in case anything goes wrong.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this has helped. You will be able to tell your friends that you got a low-cost divorce. But let’s face it. Between you and us, you will have obtained a REAL cheap online divorce in California, and there’s nothing wrong with that.