How to handle finances during divorce

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Learn how to achieve a fast and inexpensive divorce from start to finish.

Divorce process basics

Any divorce process typically includes standard stages, like:

  • filing the divorce petition along with other paperwork;
  • serving the respondent;
  • negotiating a settlement or going to trial;
  • and finalizing the judgment.

Along with it, each of the stages is subject to state-specific family law.

For example, a couple must meet the state’s residency requirements to apply for divorce in nearly all states. In Kentucky, this means that either spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 180 days and a resident of the particular county where filing for divorce. However, the required length of time varies from state to state, from 60 days to 12 months in some cases.

The same applies to grounds for divorce, which each petitioner must specify in the complaint. Kentucky is a purely no-fault state where the only legal reason for divorce is that “the marriage is irretrievably broken, and there’s no chance for reconciliation.”

At the same time, some states recognize both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. The latter may include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, and other causes, implying that a dissolution of marriage should be granted based on some marital misconduct of the respondent.

There is also a waiting period (60 days in Kentucky), rules for serving divorce papers, child custody and support, property division, alimony, and filing fees ($113 in Kentucky).

To sum it all up, some peculiarities of the divorce process are constant due to the law, which gives us a strict framework for further actions. Therefore, to save time and money in a divorce, we should instead focus on benefiting most from each of the stages above.

Contested vs. uncontested divorce

Typically, there are two main types of divorces.

The first is a contested divorce, usually associated with traditional litigation. It occurs when the spouses cannot agree on their divorce issues, like, spousal support, marital property, children-related matters, and other rights and liabilities. Thus, they go to court, where the judge makes decisions for them during the divorce proceeding.

As contested divorce often involves multiple hearings, expert witnesses, and a trial, the parties need experienced attorneys to advocate their interests. It’s no wonder that the average cost of divorce that goes to trial on two or more issues is more than $20,000.

The second type is an uncontested divorce where both spouses agree on all issues concerning their separation out of court. They need to draft and sign the Kentucky Marital Settlement Agreement and file it with the court before their final divorce hearing. Once both parties have signed this document, the terms of their agreement become legally binding.

Some couples seek the help of a lawyer to write the agreement, and some do it on their own to save money. Anyway, a peaceful divorce is significantly cheaper than a contested one, as it takes less time, and attorneys charge by the hour. Besides, some law firms provide relatively affordable flat-fee uncontested divorce representation.

Do it yourself and save more

Besides its obvious benefits, an uncontested divorce also provides more opportunities to arrange a DIY divorce, i.e., without an attorney at all.

Getting a divorce without a lawyer is called Pro Se divorce in legal terms. This approach is allowed in Kentucky and other states, though not recommended for complex and high-conflict divorce cases.

The thing is, representing yourself before the court is not only cheap but also somewhat challenging. A self-represented litigant bears full responsibility for a settlement agreement,  completing divorce forms, adherence to court rules and deadlines, and as a result, for the divorce process outcome.

In general, a do-it-yourself divorce is a preferable option among couples with short marriages, no minor children, and few property and assets to divide. However, those who do not meet these conditions but at the same time do not need legal advice or do not want to sort out and arrange everything themselves may take advantage of alternative support.

For example, the spouses can consider divorce mediation if they need help with a divorce settlement agreement. In mediation, the spouses meet with a neutral third party (mediator) who helps them negotiate, work through their divorce issues, and reach mutually beneficial solutions.

Divorce over the internet

When the settlement agreement is ready, the main issue of an amicable uncontested divorce is paperwork. Divorce forms may vary by state and county, and each couple’s unique circumstances may require additional papers and documents.

Sometimes, a person without a legal background may miss something in the paperwork or not understand specific terms. All this can impact the length of divorce, as the court can reject the submitted divorce papers if there are mistakes.

To solve such problems at this stage of the process, you may consider online divorce companies.

Web divorce companies should not be confused with e-filing providers, which allow applying for divorce online, i.e., electronically. Internet divorce services do not provide legal aid and are not linked to the state courts. Instead, they generate court-approved divorce forms and guarantee that everything is completed correctly so that the judge will approve the papers.

Thus, online divorce websites offer a quick, affordable, and straightforward way to complete divorce papers online without attending the Court Clerk’s office or wasting time on red tape.

A user needs to answer an online interview on the website to provide their case details. It can be done whenever and wherever is comfortable for them.

Then, the system selects the legal forms, considering the state and county of filing and all the relevant personal circumstances, and fills them out in a couple of days. Finally, the completed forms are ready to be printed, signed, and filed with the court.

The main advantage of online divorce is that you do not need to spend extra money on a lawyer or grapple with paperwork by yourself trying to understand all the laws and civil procedure rules. All this makes online divorce forms preparation an excellent bargain for couples attempting a DIY divorce in Kentucky.

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