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How to File for Divorce Online With a State Fee Waiver

by Derrell Legrear

When divorce combines with evolving technology, the result is filing for divorce in the comfort of your own home. It is convenient and private. Best of all, you avoid costly attorney fees. There are a couple of options when filing for your divorce online. You can either download the appropriate forms from your local courthouse website or buy a do-it-yourself divorce kit on the web. Not everyone is eligible to file for divorce online, but if you meet the criteria, the savings can be substantial--and depending on your financial status, you may be able to get a fee waiver.

Filing for an Uncontested Divorce Online

Meet the criteria. In order for your uncontested divorce to be filed online, you must not have children under the age of 18 or property that needs to be divided. The respondent must agree to all terms you petition.

Select your online filing method. Some states offer their own online system to file for divorce. Other states allow you to download and print the necessary paperwork from your county clerk's official website. Most states allow you to obtain the paperwork free of charge. You are responsible for completing all paperwork properly. If you feel that you need further legal assistance but cannot afford an attorney, a divorce kit is an alternative. The kit guides you through the process. The information is straightforward and put in easy to understand terms. A team of legal assistants reviews your documents and prepares the final paperwork for you. The papers are sent directly to you, ready to be filed. If you choose an online kit, you pay the fee for the paperwork and service. You are still required to pay a filing fee when the papers are returned to the courthouse to be filed.

Visit the county clerk's office to apply to have the divorce filing fee waived. Each state has different requirements to be eligible for a fee waiver. Generally, you must have little or no income. You will need to be declared indigent. After a series of questions, the county clerk will determine your status. If approved, you will sign an Affidavit of Indigent Status. With indigent status, you are not required to pay any court costs or fees to file.

Hand the clerk your papers to be filed. No matter how you obtain and complete your divorce papers, you must present the clerk with the Affidavit of Indigent Status when you file the papers.

Filing for a Contested Divorce Online

Evaluate the situation. In a contested divorce, a spouse is not agreeing to the terms of the divorce. You must prepare to go to court.

Obtain the paperwork. You can print the paperwork online, if offered in your county. If your county clerk's website does not have online forms to print, you must purchase a contested divorce packet from the office. You are unable to file for a contested divorce online using a kit. The circumstances of a contested divorce can vary greatly from case to case. The process is usually quite involved and lengthy. A contested divorce may require multiple court appearances.

Utilize online resources--there are a variety of online tools and resources to help you complete the paperwork. You can apply for free legal aid by visiting your county clerk's official site. You can also use the web to search for a divorce attorney in your area.

Fill out all paperwork and return it to the courthouse. At this time, you will need to apply for your fee waiver. You must complete the interview with the clerk to verify eligibility. Sign the Affidavit of Indigent Status and submit your paperwork. Since the divorce is contested, the sheriff will need to serve your spouse with the papers.

About the Author

Located in Florida, Derrell Legrear has been writing since 2003, focusing his work on topics about health, travel and investing. His articles have appeared in the "Orlando Sentinel" and "Florida Today." He graduated with honors and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Central Florida. He is pursuing a Master of Arts in English.

Photo Credits

  • wedding bands silver white image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com