Affordable Orange County Divorce Lawyer Alternatives
You have finally decided to get a divorce. Now what? There are a number of options for you to choose from when looking for help. First, you will need to identify whether your divorce will proceed as an uncontested or contested matter. Read on to learn more about affordable Orange County divorce lawyer alternatives.
California Uncontested Divorce Overview
There are two main types of divorces in California: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is used if the parties are amicable. In general, this means the parties are in agreement on the division of assets and debts, child custody and visitation, and spousal support.
Contested divorces simply mean there is disagreement on one of the above issues. Most people hire a third-party neutral (example – legal document preparer or mediator) to complete their uncontested divorce. Most contested divorces require the court to decide issues the couple are unable to.
Seek help outside of the court to resolve your divorce disputes. Doing so will save you time and money. The best way to get a fast divorce in California is to sit down with your spouse and figure out an equitable distribution of your assets and debts. Speak with a child therapist or mediator to resolve any custody disputes. Arguing with your spouse and not coming to a mutual resolution will slow down your divorce. The key to a fast divorce is working smartly throughout the process and avoiding conflicts that only result in more delays.
Consider Hiring a Legal Document Preparer
Using a legal document preparer is relatively self-explanatory. A legal document preparer will help prepare all the forms you need to start and finish your divorce. Examples of applicable types of documents they can prepare include:
- Divorce papers
- Child custody order
- Child support calculation
- Visitation schedule
- Marital Settlement Agreements
In the state of California, you must be registered as a Legal Document Assistant or an attorney to perform this type of work. A legal document preparer cannot provide legal advice. They also cannot represent you in court. SD Esquire provides uncontested divorce services to self-represented parties. Our service starts at $695 flat fee and includes the completion of paperwork for both spouses.
Government Agency Divorce Options
The government also provides options to assist you. The most common of these is a self-help center. A self-help center focuses primarily on procedural assistance related to divorces. They also frequently offer workshops, paper resources, and access to public computers. The Orange County self-help center is located at:
First Floor, Room 101
341 The City Dr. South
Orange, CA 92868
Non-Profits Organizations Specializing in Divorce Document Preparation
Aside from the government, standalone non-profits may also be able to assist you. If your income is below a certain level, you may qualify for help from a legal aid agency. Consider signing up for the Modest Means Program in OC. To qualify, you must be unable to afford assistance, but not qualify for local pro bono services. Many legal aid agencies or non-profits have eligibility requirements. Oftentimes, these requirements are financial in nature. If you believe you cannot afford the cost of a divorce, you can try to seek help from a non-profit.
Family Law Facilitator’s Office
Another option is the Family Law Facilitator’s Office. It is located in the same place as the Orange County self-help center. The Family Law Facilitator is an attorney who works for the Orange County Superior Court. That attorney is not, however, your attorney. This person offers non-legal advice to any party and is neutral. Most of the work done by the attorney is related to preparing paperwork. They help people who do not have legal counsel manage their cases. If you choose to use the Family Law Facilitator’s Office, remember that anything you tell them is not confidential.
Work with a Divorce Attorney
The most traditional method of dealing with divorce is through an attorney. Legal counsel is especially useful if you have a contested divorce. Your divorce attorney works with your best interests in mind. They also prepare paperwork for you. They follow required timelines and have a lot of experience with the divorce process. In the end, they may even represent you in court. The only downside to hiring an attorney is the potential cost. If your divorce is messy, it could get expensive.
Avoid Going Into Debt During a California Divorce
SD Esquire Flat Fee Divorce Service
SD Esquire provides flat fee uncontested divorce services. We will prepare the legal documents you need to file for and complete your divorce. This includes preparing and filling your divorce petition, completing your financial disclsoures, and drafting your marital settlement agreement (MSA). Our uncontested flat fee divorce service starts at $1500 for standard divorce (you are responsible for paying court filling fees). The fee also includes service of process fees. You can make installment payments as your case progresses. It costs $500 to start your matter. Sign up today to get started.