DIY divorces are a bad idea

I do quite a few uncontested divorces here in Christian County, and I am glad to do them. They are $500, which includes the filing fee of around $175.00.

So basically, I make about $350 off of your uncontested divorce. That’s meeting with me in my office twice, and having all of the relevant forms typed up correctly, submitted to the judge, and returned to you. Signed.

But hey- there is one company out there called “divorce writer” that advertises a 100% money back guaranteed state specific divorce for just $149.00 plus the filing fee. Hey…its DIY, right? We’re all into that these days. Why isn’t a divorce like …. making a ribbon wire wreath? Or even remodeling your own bathroom? There are plenty of guides you can follow – hey, I love Pinterest as much as anyone, and I love cutting out a middle man (if I can). Who wants to pay a freakin lawyer?

But the site I looked at, my dear friend, is a straight rip off. You will end up paying $149, plus the filing fee, and THEN you’ll have to come and see me anyway. Here’s why:

FIRST AND FOREMOST, EVERY COUNTY IN KENTUCKY HAS DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES AS TO WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR FILING A DIVORCE. COUNTIES WITHOUT A FAMILY COURT HAVE DOMESTIC RELATIONS COMMISSIONERS, WHICH IS A DIFFERENT PROCESS. SOME COUNTIES REQUIRE CERTAIN PARENTING PLANS. SOME DO NOT. YOU NEED TO BE FAMILIAR WITH THE LOCAL RULES OF PRACTICE IN THE KY COUNTY WHERE YOU ARE FILING.

The following advice from me regarding what’s necessary to file an uncontested divorce applies only to those filed in Christian County, KY.

I bet Divorce Writer does not bother to look at the local rules. Maybe they do. I’m not paying $189 for a fake divorce, because I see the game they’re playing-

Here are the 100% money back guarantee terms. This is where they get you- those “state specific filing procedures (may include specific signing guidelines and MULTIPLE steps to complete filing process) signing guidelines”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To file an uncontested divorce in KY, you need the following:

1. A petition, which contains likely the information that Divorce Writer collected in the “online interview”

2. A jurisdictional affidavit

3. An entry of appearance for the spouse who is the respondent, saying they consent to waiving their own lawyer (or doing it pro se, I suppose)

4. A Settlement Agreement ( which Divorce Writer may or may not get right)

 

AND

5. Kentucky requires that preliminary and financial disclosure statements be submitted with every divorce. They do provide the forms on line – because I want to help, here are the links:

http://courts.ky.gov/resources/legalforms/Pages/legalformlibrary.aspx

Start with AOC form 238. Fill out the next 6 forms.

(All of those pesky “state specific” procedures that you have to follow if you want your money back)

Or, if you are in Christian County, you can just come to me and I’ll take care of all 6 forms in one agreed order.

6. The VS-300. That too is a state specific form. I’ll save you the scavenger hunt it takes to find this form – here is the link:

http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/vital/

Divorce Writer might tell you that the VS-300 has to be submitted on a special kind of paper, bond paper with a watermark. It also has to be signed by an “attorney” preparing the papers. I’ve never had a client get this far themselves, but if you do, make sure it’s the original and that it’s on the right paper.

 

Finally, as far as the “final decree and findings of fact” that the Judge signs, making the divorce final. Divorce Writer probably does have the correct language on that. It’s not too hard. Oh, and that includes the name change. It’s one sentence in the final decree.

 

But, as you can see in the bottom left hand corner, Divorce Writer does not act as your attorney. In Kentucky, the petition, the settlement agreement, and all of the other papers (well, the majority) are REQUIRED to have a statement from the person (99% of the time a licensed attorney) who prepared each and every document, along with their address and phone number.

Divorce Writer ain’t gonna sign that for you. They aren’t acting as your attorney. Sure, the docs that they send you may have all of the required information, but you’re still going to be stuck with those pesky little “state specific” procedures – which are the real pain if you don’t go to a knowledgeable attorney.

Just some friendly advice. If anyone…ANYONE has gone through an online divorce site in the past year and gotten everything done and filed successfully, please let me know. If so, was it worth it? Or would you rather have paid an additional $100 and had everything taken care of (cause I know Divorce Writer didn’t do that financial disclosure form for you. Bet they didn’t include a waiver either).

For some things, like rental leases or basic contracts, these online legal sites may be worthwhile. But for divorces, no matter how simple, don’t try it. Unless you have a really good friend who is a paralegal or a lawyer (or even better, a clerk at the courthouse) that can guide you through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY divorces are a bad idea

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