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How Much Does It Cost To Get a Divorce in California

How Much Does It Cost To Get a Divorce in California
August 25, 2016 Peter O'Hanlon
Option
CostQuality
Do-It-Yourself$0Low Quality; No Professional Guidance; No Complete Instructions Available; Time Consuming; Many Rejections of Your Documents by the Court; Frustrating; Very Difficult to Accomplish in 2019 and Beyond
NetDivorce$129High-Quality; No Fraud; Flat Fee; No Ups or Extras; 37+ Years Experience in California Only; Local Knowledge; Cost Effective; Great Client Testimonials
Online Divorce Mill$300-$1000Unlicensed; Unregulated; Low Quality Work; No Legal Advice Provided; No Accountability; Most Located Out-of-State or in India; Lots of Fraud, Trickery and Up-Selling; Lots of Mistakes That Affect Your Legal and Economic Rights for Many Years; No Local Knowledge
Local Online Divorce Lawyer$400-$600High Quality; No Fraud; Full Accountability; Licensed Professional; Local Knowledge; Cost Effective: Uses Lawyer Only Where Needed; Scale-able As Needed; This is a cross between DIY and full legal representation; This is the Best of Both Worlds.
Local Divorce Lawyer -Traditional Full Representation$2500-$5000High Quality; No Fraud; Full Accountability; Licensed Professional; Local Knowledge; Convenient; At Least 2.5X Overpriced

Price Anchoring

 

Don’t Pay Any Online Divorce Provider’s High Costs of Business

 

Watch For Price Fraud

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Up-Selling

Comparison Table

NetDivorce Comparison Table

Online divorce is a smart choice for an uncontested California divorce. But that doesn’t mean your hiring choice will be easy. You still have to hire an online divorce provider without getting screwed. Regrettably, online divorce is a completely unregulated industry that is full of fraud, trickery and incompetence. Below are the good, the bad and the very ugly.

BTW, you will not see any comparison table like this on any of our competitors' websites. Ask yourself why. Our competitors compare themselves only to lawyers so that they appear to be cheap. We compare ourselves only to our competitors.
WebsiteQuoted FeeComments
NetDivorce.com$129Flat fee; no ups or extras EVER; this is not a teaser or a 1-month subscription; This is the complete fee!! California divorce ONLY; 37+ years’ experience; State AND county docs
InstantOnlineDivorce.com$129ALERT: THIS FEE IS FOR A 1-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY!! THEN THEY HIT YOUR CREDIT CARD EVERY MONTH UNTIL YOU CANCEL; Based in Jaipur, India; State docs only
GetDivorcePapers.com$129ALERT: THIS FEE IS FOR A 1-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY!! THEN THEY HIT YOUR CREDIT CARD EVERY MONTH UNTIL YOU CANCEL; Read the BBB complaints here; Based in India; 105 complaints at BBB; F-rating at BBB; State docs only
OnlineDivorce.com$139ALERT: THIS FEE IS FOR A 1-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY!! THEN THEY HIT YOUR CREDIT CARD EVERY MONTH UNTIL YOU CANCEL; State docs only; 34 BBB complaints in one year; F-rating; BBB labels them as false advertisers
MyDivorcePapers.com$139+++ALERT: THIS FEE IS FOR A 1-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY!! THEN THEY HIT YOUR CREDIT CARD EVERY MONTH UNTIL YOU CANCEL; Big upseller!; $125 “expedite fee” or you wait 10-14 Days for your papers; $199 “premium package” fee; Uses bogus self-owned testimonial and review websites; State docs only
DivorceWriter.com$149Nationwide. Experienced; State docs only BUT THERE ARE MANY COMMON DOCS THEY ADMIT ARE NOT PROVIDED - THEY ONLY PREPARE ABOUT HALF OF YOUR PAPERS IN A NORMAL CASE!! Why would you hire someone to do half the job?
3StepDivorce.com$299Good Company. Nationwide. Experienced; State docs only
Completecase.com$299ALERT: THIS FEE IS FOR A 1-MONTH SUBSCRIPTION ONLY!! THEN THEY HIT YOUR CREDIT CARD EVERY MONTH UNTIL YOU CANCEL; Nationwide. Experienced; State AND county docs
itsovereasy.com$750+++Latest foo-foo hipster divorce site. Different payment levels but the one closest to what all other companies here do is $750. Uses a hot-shot Hollywood lawyer as a front, but this is NOT a law firm. Another one that TELLS you in advance that everything is upsold. Really nice website.
Legalzoom.com/Wevorce$949+++++Way overpriced; Big upseller; Tries to move you to subscribing attorneys, accountants, financial planners, psychiatrists, counselors, etc.; All of these are EXTRA! None is included in the $949. Total hipster feel-good nonsense; If you and your spouse could do the Wevorce procedure, you wouldn't be getting a divorce; State docs only
Separate.us$999Total Rip; Quotes $999 but then also quotes a $99 "Total Fee" that is nothing but a teaser. $99 is their fee for the first filing docs only!! If you want the whole divorce - it's a grand!! Cool website, though.

Completecase.com is a good company.  If you hire it to handle your uncontested divorce case, they will do a fine job for you. Their flat fee is $299 as compared to NetDivorce’s flat fee of $129.  NetDivorce provides a more complete and personal service, and all docs are proofread by a lawyer with 35+ years of experience in California divorce.  See our comparison chart.  Completecase.com simply cannot match NetDivorce’s service at any price. However, that is a discussion for another time and place. For now, we’ll leave the price comparison to you, the divorce consumer.

perplexedWhat concerns us here is that we can’t figure out why completecase.com, a high-quality company, persists in a 15-year old online divorce pricing deception to get you to hire them.  It’s a cheap trick. It’s similar in quality to their representation that their long-gone founder’s appearance on Good Morning America almost 20 years ago should mean something to you today.  You’re smart enough to figure that out, but the price-anchoring trick really is a low blow – if you don’t know the facts and recognize the deceptive technique.  After reading this post, you will know.

Price anchoring is when the salesman anchors a much higher price in your mind so that you will feel better about eventually paying a lower price, even though that lower price is still too high.  An example would be when the appliance salesman shows you the top-of-the -line washing machine, which he knows no one wants to buy, just to make you feel better when he shows you something 2 or 3 notches down. That second unit still won’t be the best value for YOU. That’s why the salesman shows it. But you’ll feel good about it.  You’ve been tricked out of the price difference between what you wanted and what you got.

A prominent message on completecase.com is that they will save you, the divorce consumer, huge sums of money.  In fact, their top page headline is, “Save thousands of dollars in legal fees without the cost of an attorney,” They also have a pricing page on which they spend a lot of space assigning a completely arbitrary lawyer’s fee of $1500 to $3500 to YOUR case, before they know anything about your case! Then they tell you that they will save you 93% of that non-existent lawyer’s fee.  HOGWASH. This is misleading and dishonest price anchoring at its worst, and completecase.com is a better company than this.  They should stop this cheap 1990’s early-internet fraud immediately.

You can definitely pay $5000 to $25000+ in lawyer’s fees for a contested, complex or very high asset divorce case. Do you have one of those? If so, what the heck are you doing looking at completecase.com or http://netdivorce.com?   Find the best divorce lawyer you can and pay him or her everything s/he asks.  It will likely be worth it.

Now back to reality. Way over 90% of divorce cases filed are uncontested – that means you and your spouse/partner are in agreement or will be very soon. Those are the cases completecase.com handles for $299 and http://netdivorce.com handles for $129.

So why is completecase.com talking to you about $1500-$3500 fees?  Price anchoring, of course!! They want you to feel real good when they skin you of the price difference between NetDivorce’s $129 and their $299. “Wow, those guys saved me thousands on a fee that NEVER APPLIED TO MY CASE!!!”

Completecase.com is not saving you $1200-3200 (or 93% of some number they pulled out of their fantasy). They’re saving you maybe $100-150 on attorney-prepared docs, which is a better and more valuable service than completecase.com offers.  If you shop around and search for “California lawyer unbundled divorce,” you will find California lawyers who will prepare all of your divorce docs (that’s what completecase.com and http://netdivorce.com do for you) for $400-450.  And those unbundled lawyer fees are coming down as more and more lawyers fight back against online divorce providers. In states other than California, you can find many lawyers offering unbundled doc prep for $300-$350.  For $400-450, those California lawyers won’t represent you or appear in court for you or file your case at court or serve your spouse (but completecase.com and http://netdivorce.com don’t do those things for you either).

Heck, you can now get full attorney representation in an uncontested case through http://avvo.com for $975 or through a new program available through the Los Angeles County Bar Association (but look for very many more county bar associations nationwide to begin this type of program) for just $800. These offers are for full attorney representation in which the lawyer does everything for you.  These are good deals that are far more in line with the reality of your uncontested case.

Suddenly, that “Save thousands of dollars in legal fees…” nonsense doesn’t seem so impressive, huh?

If you are a new California divorce consumer, don’t get tricked.  Stop and think! Your choice is NOT between completecase.com’s $300 and a lawyer’s fee of $1500-3500 for a case you don’t have.  If you have an uncontested case, your choice is between NetDivorce’s flat fee of $129 and a California lawyer’s unbundled doc prep fee of $400-450. Let’s keep it real.

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