Do It Yourself Divorce Kits

Do It Yourself Divorce KitsNo contest divorces obtained with the use of divorce kits are an increasingly popular way for divorcing couples to make an official end to their marriages. What’s a divorce kit? An information packet containing the necessary documents, forms and instructions that will allow marriage partners to divorce in their state. Divorce kits are readily available as packets of instructions and forms on state websites from which they can be downloaded for free. There are also a number of do-it-yourself legal services that publish divorce kits. These are often sponsored by lawyers or online legal documentation services, and come with guidelines that are more elaborate than the kits provided on state websites, making them a better option for couples without legal expertise even though a modest fee is often involved in their purchase.

Divorce kits are popular primarily because of their relatively low cost: A no contest divorce generally costs between $175 and $300 when filing fees are paid. A divorce that involves lawyers, on the other hand, can easily run thousands of dollars. Divorce kits are also popular because in the absence of court dates and the need for deliberation, divorces can be obtained much more quickly this way. Additionally, no-contest divorces are not a matter of public record since they don’t go through the courts; therefore, privacy is better safeguarded.

On the downside, however, it can be difficult to negotiate the various legal procedures involved in filling out the forms correctly without a lawyer to offer advice. The more complicated the issues, the more paperwork will be involved. Divorce kits don’t always explain court requirements adequately: In cases where children are involved, even if the couple seeking divorce are in complete agreement where issues like joint custody, physical custody and child support are concerned, the couple most often will still be referred to an office of the court for interviews and counseling – a stipulation that may be unclear from the information contained in the divorce kit.

Divorce kits are most suitable for uncomplicated divorces where the divorcing parties are amicably disposed toward one another and potential disputes about property division and child custody are kept to a bare minimum.

How To Choose Do It Yourself Divorce Kits

What should you look for when choosing do it yourself divorce kits?

Credibility: Does the website you’re downloading your divorce kit from look professional? Was the divorce kit itself prepared by someone with a legal background? Does the website guarantee that the forms contained in its divorce kit meet the legal standards for the state where the divorce is being filed?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” find another divorce kit.

Quality of Information: Is the quality of the information provided sufficient to guide you through the divorce process? If you have questions about the forms, or difficulties filling them out, are there customer service representatives available to guide you through problematic patches?

When Is Using a Divorce Kit Appropriate?

A divorce kit is an appropriate option in situations where divorcing spouses agree on all the material issues pertaining to the dissolution of their marriage. What are these material issues?

Division of assets: Divorcing spouse must come to a mutual agreement about the distribution of marital property. The court is likely to accept this agreement so long as it can be clearly demonstrated that fraud or coercion played no role in the asset distribution. Every state has its own set of rules for classifying what constitutes marital as opposed to non-marital property. Nine states subscribe to a community property standard in which all property acquired during the marriage, except inheritances, belong to both marital partners. The community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Child Custody, Support and Visitation: There are divorce kits available for couples pursuing no contest divorce options who want process their divorce without legal assistance. However, the legal stipulations here can be very complicated and the necessary paperwork reflects this. Even when both parents are in agreement, it is likely that the parent seeking custody will have to undergo some sort of mediated child custody evaluation at the behest of the court. These usually consist of meetings between parents, children and a professional who’s charged with assessing the situation.

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