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How To Get a Divorce With No Money

How To Get a Divorce With No Money

If you’re considering divorce, you might have found through your research that divorce can be expensive. Between court fees amounting to hundreds of dollars, and involvement from legal professionals, which can cost even more, it might seem impossible to figure out how to get a divorce with no money. However, there is hope! Read on for more information about how to get a divorce for free (or almost free…)

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

According to Forbes, the average cost of a divorce in the United States is a whopping $7,000. The cost can be even more when a divorce is “contested”, meaning that the two members of the couple cannot agree to the terms of the divorce and need to hire lawyers to help them. 

In cases where there is a question of child custody or division of assets and property, it might be necessary to utilize a child custody evaluator, mediator, real estate evaluator, accountant, or other professionals.

At the lowest end of the spectrum, divorce can cost as little as $200 when a couple files the paperwork themselves. Even in a “DIY” divorce, a couple usually has to pay filing fees, courtroom fees, a process server for serving divorce papers, and in some states even the divorce forms themselves come with a cost. 

That said, if you’re wondering how to get a divorce with no money, there are ways to do so. 

couple having a conversation in article on how to get a divorce with no money

How to get a divorce for free

The good news is, it is possible to have court and application fees waived. It is likely you will be able to have fees waived if you have a low income, and/or you receive public assistance like TANF, SNAP, SSI, or other forms of aid. You may need to provide proof of income and information about your expenses. 

Each state has its own forms to file for divorce and for a fee waiver, so the best way to apply for a divorce fee waiver is to perform an internet search for “divorce fee waiver + name of your state”. 

A website called Law Help Interactive, which is endorsed by the U.S. government, can also help simplify legal forms without the help of a lawyer. 

These fee waivers are helpful if you have a simple divorce case without too many complexities, but what happens when there are additional costs involved beyond the basic paperwork? 

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How to get legal help for free

While it is probably a relief to know that it is possible to get a fee waiver for your paperwork and court fees, what happens when there are additional costs to cover? Many divorces require mediation or legal help with custody issues and division of assets. These issues are often not easy to manage, especially when there is animosity between the parties filing for divorce. 

Luckily, there are organizations that help people who need to get a divorce for free. 

One of the best places to start is to contact your local Bar association. Bar associations are professional organizations for lawyers, and they often offer “pro bono”, or “free” legal help to people who would otherwise be unable to afford to hire a lawyer. 

LawHelp.org is another organization that can direct you to free and low cost legal resources. 

Finally, Legal Services Corporation is an organization established by the United States Congress, which is designed to connect low and moderate income Americans with free and low cost legal services. 

USA.gov lists these resources and more on their webpage on affordable legal aid. 

If you are wondering how to get a divorce with no money, there are resources out there to help. Divorce is almost never easy, but with the resources above, you can find the help you need for yourself and your family.

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.