If you’ve been considering getting a divorce in Louisiana, you’ve no doubt done a number of Google searches and come across online divorce companies. These online companies claim to offer quick divorces for a low fee. Anyone who has been through a divorce in Louisiana knows they can be expensive and there’s a reason for that. The facts of each case are different and require a little more effort than just a form presented to the judge in most cases. You have to know what goes into the petitions, who signs, what parish to file in, what order to present the divorce paperwork to the Clerk of Court and the list goes on.
Online divorce companies offer fast, cheap and easy divorces, but there’s a few things you should know before you send your hard-earned money to an online company. Online divorce companies are usually generated by a computer program – that’s how they save money and produce more volume. It’s based on the information you type into the online form and there is no human that oversees what the form is creating. Not only do online divorce companies not have humans assisting you with your divorce, they don’t employ attorneys to supervise and to ensure your divorce is being handled properly. That’s quite alarming as it is easy to make a mistake with a Louisiana divorce due to the complexity of our laws.
Louisiana divorce laws are vastly different than any other state and should be handled by a Louisiana attorney to ensure everything is completed correctly and in the proper order. Some companies employ writers from all over the world to fill in the blanks for your online divorce paperwork. However, these “writers” are not only outside of Louisiana and usually the U.S., they aren’t attorneys and cannot give legal advice or direct you to the proper procedures in your parish.
Here’s how the process normally works with online divorce companies:
- You Google a few companies and choose one.
- You pay the fee.
- Their computer program takes the information you provided and fills in the blanks.
- You receive your divorce papers.
- It is now up to you to file the paperwork with the proper court, pay filing fees and get the Judge’s signature to finalize your divorce.
Make a mistake in any part of this process and you will have to start over. If you can’t serve your soon to be ex-spouse, you have to take additional steps that an online company cannot help you with.
A common issue that people encounter when they try to file their divorce on their own deals with the Waiver of Service. Courts in Louisiana will not sign the Judgment of Divorce if you don’t submit the Waiver of Service in the proper order. Online divorce companies don’t tell customers that you must file the Petition for Divorce first, then send the Waiver of Service to your spouse for signature. The Judge won’t grant your divorce if the Waiver of Service is signed and executed BEFORE you file the petition for divorce in the proper parish. The online companies don’t tell customers this rule because they don’t know Louisiana divorce law. This is one of the biggest complaints the Louisiana divorce court system has with online divorce companies.
Online divorce companies make you believe that a divorce will only cost around $500, but they fail to mention that you will have to pay court filing fees that could range up to $400. They also don’t tell you that there could be a way to postpone paying filing fees by filing out a specialized form. What they email you is not complete and you still have multiple steps to follow to finalize your divorce. The divorce petition is only the beginning and they cannot assist you, nor can court workers assist you with the next steps. Clerk of Court personnel cannot give legal advice or tell you the order you must file your documents. If you file out of order, the Judge may not sign your judgment granting you a divorce. It happens every single day.
What Happens When You Make a Mistake With Your Online Divorce?
You have to start over and submit even more money to the company. There is no attorney on staff at the online divorce company that can give you advice on how to fix your issue or as to what steps you must take next. All they can do is allow you to spend more money and try again.
You could easily end up spending much more money than you would with a licensed Louisiana divorce attorney that has years of experience and will personally take care of your divorce from start to finish. Many people in Louisiana pay fees to online divorce companies and find out they made a costly mistake then they contact an attorney to fix the mistakes.
Here are a few common issues with using online divorce companies:
- There is no attorney supervising your divorce paperwork;
- You can easily make a mistake and no one will tell you until it’s too late;
- There is no one you can call for legal advice;
- It’s up to you to file the divorce paperwork they send you;
- You could easily file in the wrong parish as there is no one to advise you;
- You will likely end up having to hire an attorney to fix mistakes;
- If you file the correct paperwork in the wrong order, the Judge won’t grant your divorce.
There are a number of issues you could potentially face by hiring an online divorce company for your Louisiana divorce. Divorce attorneys in Louisiana have specialized training to assist you and have practiced law in the parish where you live. Each parish could potentially have a different set of local rules and an attorney will know what they expect. An online divorce company cannot give you that type of service.
Divorce Attorneys in Louisiana Aren’t Always Expensive
Divorces can be expensive in Louisiana, but they don’t have to be. Usually when you hear of a friend spending 5k to 10k on a divorce, there were other issues present. Children, community property and spousal support can easily rack up legal fees. Child custody litigation is extremely costly and can drag on for numerous hearings for years. The same can be said with a litigious community property split.
The cost of a divorce that doesn’t deal with child custody, property or spousal support isn’t nearly as expensive as you may believe. In fact, there are multiple attorneys in Louisiana that will assist you with an uncontested divorce for what you would spend on an online divorce company. You will have to call around for quotes, but you should be able to find one that will file your divorce without charging you a high price.
It’s important to do your research before hiring an attorney. Here’s an article that can help you with the process.
Disclaimer: This article is not to be used as legal advice. You must contact an attorney for legal questions. This website does not hold itself out as an attorney, nor is anything in this post to be taken as legal advice.