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A Tale of Two Journalists Who Filed for Divorce Online
When plumbers or beauticians get divorced, they don’t write about it. It would probably be interesting and helpful to others if they did, but they don’t.
Journalists are different. Some journalists write about everything they do. And recently, two lady journalists filed divorces online. They both wrote about their experiences with two quite different online divorce services. Here’s what happened.
Can I Get a Divorce Online? – Yes, but the Online Divorce Industry is Unlicensed and Unregulated – Pick Your Online Divorce Service Wisely
|Name of Journalist:||Rachel Brodsky||Jeanne Croteau|
|Online Divorce Provider She Hired:||NetDivorce, LLC |
|Get Divorce Papers, Ltd.|
|Flat Fee Quoted:||$129||$139|
|Amount Paid:||$129||approx. $350|
|Did She Get Her Divorce?:||Yes||No|
Our Client’s Privacy: Please be aware that the journalist who hired NetDivorce openly discloses in her published article that she hired NetDivorce to handle her own divorce. She mentions us by name. She also speaks about her experience with NetDivorce. NetDivorce would never mention a client’s name publicly unless she had already disclosed publicly that she was a NetDivorce client. Of course, nothing confidential about her case will be disclosed.
Read What These Two Journalists Are Telling You About How To File For Divorce Online in Ventura
I recommend that you read the online divorce articles written by both of these ladies. They are written from different perspectives, but they are both worthwhile. Rachel Brodsky’s article is at HuffPost. Jeanne Croteau’s article WAS published at Forbes and was here for several months.
However, Forbes has since taken down the article. Fortunately, our sister company, Online Divorce PRO had created the following video, featuring Ms. Croteau’s article, before it was taken down by Forbes. Ms. Croteau’s article is featured between 3:00 minutes and 3:45 minutes of the following video. You can pause the video. You’ll be able to read almost the whole article in that video.
Why did Forbes take down her article? We don’t know. We contacted Ms. Croteau. She was not pleased it had been taken down. She indicated that she would be re-writing the article and publishing it elsewhere. She also indicated that she would not be writing for Forbes anymore.
We assume that Forbes received a letter from Get Divorce Papers or their lawyer. There is nothing defamatory in Ms. Croteau’s article. She’s certainly entitled to state her opinion. She’s also entitled to state the accurate facts. As a journalist, she would likely have made sure that she could easily prove the very basic facts she claimed. The article was well-written and reasonable. It was not a hit-piece, and it could have been.
However, most online publishers will pull most articles as soon as they get a lawyer’s letter. That’s possibly what happened. You can draw your own conclusions. Check the video.
Summary of the Article About the Get Divorce Papers Online Divorce Service
Ms. Croteau was quoted, as are all visitors to getdivorcepapers.com, a “Total Cost” of $139. That $139 is described on their pricing page as the “Cost for Complete Divorce Preparation Service.”
But even in their first hit on her credit card, they charged her an extra $30 for “shipping” and $8.95 as a “processing fee.” Yes, that’s right. They charge you money for charging you money. Every time you pay them anything, there is an EXTRA “processing fee.” That’s because they are located in India. No US-based credit card processor will touch them. And Indian credit card processors charge them an extra fee, which they pass along to their clients as a “processing fee.”
The $30 shipping fee is openly disclosed in their pricing. It’s contained in the list of things they do, but it’s not added to the total of $139 that appears at the bottom of that list. The implication is that the $30 is part of the $139 as it’s in the list that adds up to $139, but as Ms. Croteau and hundreds of others have discovered, it’s not. There is an asterisk next to the shipping fee, and the corresponding asterisk below states, “$29.99 for shipping is extra and applicable for all the cases.”
So this is not technically a hidden fee, like most of their other fees. It’s a fee they mislead you about. It’s reasonable for you to think that the $30 is included in the $139 and it’s not.
In fact, their quoted upfront fee is $178 ($139 + $29.99 shipping + $8.95 foreign credit card processing), NOT $139.
BTW, why is there “shipping” in online divorce? NetDivorce prepares California divorce papers in the popular downloadable Adobe pdf format. If you hire NetDivorce, you get IMMEDIATE downloads of your completed divorce papers in pdf to your internet-connected device. And”immediate” means right now.
In that same pricing list, getdivorcepapers.com indicates that “all completed forms available instantly (not available in every state).” Why not? Are there states that don’t have internet yet?
NetDivorce always has clients in China, the Philippines, and many foreign countries. They all download their completed divorce papers, wherever they are.
My guess is that there is no state in which immediate downloads are available from getdivorcepapers.com. And my evidence to support that is getdivorcepaper’s Better Business Bureau page. If you go there and read a few of their complaints, you will notice multiple consumers stating that when they got to the time to download their documents, they were told that they could either wait 10-12 days to get their forms shipped or they could pay $90 (plus a processing fee, of course) to get their documents downloaded immediately. They were originally promised that “shockingly swift completed forms accessibility” (Yes, that’s how they write English in India and in your divorce papers.) would be included in the original “Total Cost” of $139.
So think about that, you’ve been required to pay $30 upfront for UPS shipping, but then to avoid that shipping, they extort you for an extra $90. You’ve paid for both options.
States differ in how long it takes to get a divorce. California has a 6-month waiting period. Many states have 2 or 3-month waiting periods. I cannot speak as to how long a divorce consumer in another state would require professional service in a divorce case.
In almost all California cases, depending on which county you reside in, you can get your divorce judgment signed in 2 to 6 months. The divorce won’t be final for the full 6 months, but you can almost always get your divorce judgment signed within that 6 months and you are essentially done with the process at that point. It’s then just a matter of waiting for the 6 months to expire for the divorce to become effective and final.
So, in a California divorce, a divorce consumer would need professional service for 2 to 6 months, depending on the county of residence. NetDivorce’s $129 fee covers service for 12 months, twice the length of time it takes to get your divorce and in some counties 6 times the length of time it takes to get your judgment signed. You can delay your case a lot with NetDivorce and still get it done within our 1-year contract period.
GetDivorcePapers has a 30-day contract period!! Only one month is covered by their $178 upfront payment. After that first 30 days, they will hit your credit card for $35 (plus a $1.50 processing fee) every month forever, until you cancel.
So, in an average California divorce, let’s say a Los Angeles County case, you will need service for approximately 4 months. That means getdivorcepapers.com will hit your credit card for an extra 3 months X $35 = $105 after the first 30 days.
So in a Los Angeles County case, now you are at $139 + $30 + $8.95 + $90 + $105 = $373 (plus a few more processing fees I don’t know). Ms. Croteau indicated that she ended up paying “around $350.”
Additionally, if you read through a few more of their BBB complaints, you will find that getdivorcepapers.com constantly spams you for $199 for what is called a “premium” service. Many other up-sells are also revealed in those BBB complaints.
Ms. Croteau states, “When you sign up, you’re also automatically enrolled in a subscription service which, frankly, I needed considering the revisions weren’t done in a timely manner. Everything seemed to take weeks instead of days, so I had to keep paying the monthly fee of $34.99 (plus $1.50 processing) to try to resolve the issues I’d had from the very beginning of the process.”
Try to imagine how fast getdivorcepapers.com will work on your divorce papers if they get paid every month. They want those extra monthly payments. They are not interested in completing your divorce. Their economic interests are in NOT completing your case. They will stretch your case out as long as they can.
At NetDivorce, with a flat fee of $129 total, our interests are in completing your case as fast as you want to go. We need to get your case done so that we can take on more cases. That’s how it is supposed to work.
Why would you hire someone whose economic interests are the opposite of yours?
Summary of the Article About the NetDivorce Online Divorce Service
Most of Ms. Brodsky’s article addresses the emotional issues of divorce. It does so quite well.
The emotional aspect of divorce is difficult and likely to be different for each person. As a technician, I am not particularly qualified to comment on non-legal or non-procedural issues in divorce. I always know that there is a personal story behind every case and I’m sensitive to the existence of that unknown story. But I also think that NetDivorce clients want me to remain clinical and not to become involved in any way in any of the personal heartache or anxiety they may be experiencing.
There are now several very expensive foo-foo divorce websites in California where, for prices ranging from $750 to $1500, with plenty of upselling, they do not toe that line. They prepare your paperwork but also become heavily involved in the emotional aspects of your divorce. Even the aroma-therapy is upsold. I’m not joking.
The only part of Ms. Brodsky’s article that needs to be corrected is that she gets our fee wrong. I suspect that she understands that she paid us $129. But as she’s trying to justify to her readers (and perhaps to herself) the purchase of a cheap divorce, when she obviously feels pretty cheap herself about the whole divorce situation, she speaks of lawyers charging $15,000 and one of those hipster “group-hug” divorce websites charging $1500. So she obviously needed to continue the mathematical alliteration by claiming that she hired NetDivorce for $150. She didn’t. We’re cheaper than that at $129.
Ms. Brodsky states that when you hire NetDivorce, you “get what you pay for, I guess.” That seems to be another self-appeasement. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to sit right with her that she did so well with NetDivorce at $129. It’s almost like she would have preferred us to screw up so that she could feel even more sorry for herself. She can’t even quote the accurate fee. But yes, if you buy a cheap divorce process from NetDivorce, you will get exactly what you pay for, I guess – unless you get MORE than what you paid for.
Apart from that one gripe, Ms. Brodsky’s article really is worthwhile and will help many who read it. All NetDivorce would say to Ms. Brosky is, “You’re welcome.” Because without the online divorce service you bought and received from us, you’d likely be writing quite a different article complaining about some other online divorce service. And, like Ms. Croteau, you’d still need a divorce.
Instead, NetDivorce enabled you to write your “poor-me” article. I “guess” you got a little more than you paid for from NetDivorce – you got a divorce without any difficulties and you got to write the article you wanted to write about that divorce. Congratulations on both.
Conclusion – How To File For Divorce in Ventura
So the comparison between NetDivorce and Get Divorce Papers is clear. Both of these ladies were nervous when they began the process of filing a divorce. They both proceeded in good faith on how to file for divorce. They each hired a different online divorce service. They each attempted to pick a divorce provider to the best of their abilities.
However, Ms. Croteau was prevented from doing so by the fraud and trickery on the getdivorcepapers.com website. She couldn’t have known about that in advance – unless she had read one of my prior articles. One of the more important hiring decisions of her life was taken away from her by fraud.
If you hire NetDivorce, you’ll pay only the flat fee quoted and you’ll get your divorce finalized. If you hire Get Divorce Papers, neither of those things will happen.
In other words, it makes no sense at all to think that Get Divorce Papers just scams every 5th or every 10th client, whether intentional or otherwise. Ms. Croteau was not merely unlucky. She was a purposeful target. She was a fraud victim. All Get Divorce Papers’ clients are fraud victims. Get Divorce Papers scams every single one of their clients – in the way described by Ms. Croteau and detailed by many dozens of Better Business Bureau complainants.
The large majority of their clients simply don’t complain about it. And almost none of those clients are journalists. So no one writes about it.
NetDivorce vs. Get Divorce Papers -Divorce Papers Online in Ventura
You should not think as a result of reading this article that all you have to do to file a divorce online successfully is to avoid getdivorcepapers.com. There are very many more frauds, incompetents and con-men in the online divorce industry than getdivorcepapers.com. Getdivorceapers.com is one of the worst but by no means the only.
I’ve written extensively over the years about all of the up-selling, hidden fees, sign-up fraud, trickery, client testimonial fraud, divorce review fraud in the online divorce industry. If you are interested, go to NetDivorce and see the Video and Blog sections on the menu upper right.
The industry is unlicensed and unregulated. And lawyers failed to control online divorce at the beginning of the Internet. As a result, all of the usual con-men from India, Russia, and other places rushed in and have controlled the online divorce industry ever since. Your local District Attorney and Department of Consumer Affairs cannot touch them, Most are outside California. Many are overseas.
And the FBI is not interested in protecting divorce consumers. This type of fraud is interstate commerce fraud. So on January 30, 2015, NetDivorce filed Complaint ID: I1501301241468482 with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. This was a slam-dunk complaint about a different online divorce service that was running its own fraudulent client testimonial service. They wrote thousands of their own testimonials and passed them off as legitimate testimonials. Their problem was that they were so dumb they ran the fraudulent testimonial website right on the very same server that contained their online divorce website. There were other such mistakes that made this a slam-dunk case. Yet nothing ever happened. We heard nothing from the FBI. That other fraudulent divorce service is still running the same testimonial scan to this day.
However, this article is primarily about the fraud and incompetence of getdivorcepapers.com. So here is our video that compares NetDivorce specifically with Get Divorce Papers.
About Your Author, Peter O’Hanlon – Why Listen To Me About Filing Divorce Online in California?
I’ve been a lawyer (barrister) in my native UK for over 40 years. I passed the Bar Exam at age 20 and was called to the Bar at age 21, the youngest possible age.
I launched California Legal Assistance Centers on June 1, 1981. I wrote the world’s first divorce software (for California divorce) in 1983-4. I pioneered cheap divorce by mail in California in the ’80s and ’90s.
I was a founding member of the California Association of Independent Paralegals in August 1986.
I’ve owned and operated 1-800-DIVORCE, the continent-wide network of independent divorce lawyers, since June 1991.
In a joint venture, I put up the world’s first online divorce website at divorceweb.com in March 1999.
I launched NetDivorce, the premier online divorce provider in California, in 1999.
I was the founding director of the Online Divorce Association of America in September 2016.
I launched Online Divorce PRO, the Best of Both Worlds – online divorce by a California licensed Legal Document Assistant in your town, in August 2019.
Now, I’m not telling you all that because I want you to think I’m a swell guy. Though I am. I’m telling you all that because I want you to know and understand that I have been on the front line of California divorce since June 1, 1981. I know California divorce inside out. I know what I’m talking about. I hope this article has helped you.