FAQ: Alternative Approach to Divorce with Liz, CEO of Divorce.com

Sergey Shok

By Divorce.com staff
Updated May 14, 2024


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In this interview, Liz answers key questions posed by attorneys Art Franklin and Carter Clay from Hollis Wright law firm. She offers insights into how Divorce.com works, the benefits it provides, and why it's a more amicable alternative for couples seeking divorce.

Whether you're considering divorce or simply want to understand the process better, this FAQ will offer valuable guidance and highlight why Divorce.com might be the right choice for you.

Q1: What makes Divorce.com an alternative pathway for couples seeking divorce that doesn't involve hiring a lawyer or going the traditional legal route?

Divorce.com provides an alternative approach to divorce that doesn't involve hiring a lawyer or following the traditional legal route. We focus on negotiation, paperwork, and filing.

Our platform uses software to guide couples through these three stages. What we do is use a different method to reach an agreement rather than essentially fighting through the court system, which is the traditional approach.

Q2: What inspired you to start Divorce.com, and how long have you been in business?

I have a computer science degree, and my entire career has been focused on improving business processes through software. I had an opportunity to acquire the largest processor of divorce paperwork in the U.S., which has processed over a million divorces in our 20-year history across all 50 states and about half of Canada.

I also acquired the domain Divorce.com and combined these to build a new product that goes beyond just processing paperwork.

Q3: What can people expect when using Divorce.com, and how does the process work?

Our most comprehensive product costs around $2,000. When you sign up, we assign a case manager who will guide you through the process. They will have an onboarding call to understand the level of assets and debts and if there are children and custody concerns.

Then, we set up mediation sessions to resolve any issues. Once everything is in agreement, we produce the paperwork and file it with the court to finalize the divorce.

Q4: Do both spouses have to agree to use Divorce.com, and how do they typically approach you?

In every divorce, there's usually a lead and a follower. Sometimes, both spouses approach us together, but often, one initiates, and then we help get the other spouse on board. We essentially replicate the petitioner-respondent structure of traditional divorce in an online setting.

Q5: What is the shortest and longest time frame for a divorce using Divorce.com?

It depends on the state because some states have waiting periods. California, for example, has a six-month waiting period, while North Carolina has 30 days. The paperwork can be completed at your own pace.

Some couples can produce the paperwork overnight, while others take longer.

Q6: How does Divorce.com mitigate the emotional and financial strain of divorce?

One of our goals is to eliminate unnecessary trauma in the process. Traditional divorce processes, where someone files a lawsuit, and the other spouse has to respond, tend to escalate anxiety and conflict.

We use mediation to prevent unnecessary fighting and stress and to avoid the "fight or flight" mentality. Our approach encourages collaboration rather than confrontation.

Q7: What are the costs involved with using Divorce.com, and how do they compare to traditional divorce?

42% of US divorces cost between $20,000 to $40,000 in attorney fees and court costs. We are able to achieve a similar result for anywhere between $500 to around $2,000, depending on what you need.

Our $500 product is our entry-level offering and focuses purely on paperwork. The paperwork offering is perfect for those who figured out how to divide everything and have made all the decisions, so they don't need help. They just come, fill out our questionnaire, print it out, and then they can go and file it themselves with the court.

It's confusing and kind of a pain, so for $749, we also file for you (we have a team of people who handle the filing).

For $1,299 we have a product called assisted divorce, where we also assign you a case manager who helps you through the process, answering non-legal questions along the way.

Our most comprehensive product is designed for couples who haven't reached an agreement but are willing to work towards one. It’s around $2,000. It includes mediation that helps you resolve the differences and case manager support.

Q8: Are children typically the biggest sticking point in a divorce, particularly regarding custody and visitation? What other sticking points do you find can turn an uncontested divorce into a contested one?

I think children are a very big sticking point. People are successful in getting divorced when they put the kids first and prioritize the children's needs over their differences. In situations like that, you can see couples really be successful.

The world of co-parenting starts with divorce, so setting up a good co-parenting relationship is crucial.

As a mother of four, the idea of a child being used as a negotiation POG is devastating to me. When we mediate, one of the first things we try to do is negotiate the issues around children upfront so that they aren't used as part of the negotiation strategy.

Other sticking points include the division of assets and debts, as well as alimony or spousal support.

Our mediators guide discussions to ensure both parties are heard and help them focus on fair and amicable resolutions.

Q9: Are the case managers at Divorce.com non-lawyers, and when might you engage an attorney for a couple using your services?

Yes, our case managers are non-lawyers. One of the most basic things we use an attorney for is deciding where a couple should file for divorce. For instance, if someone was married in Wisconsin but now lives in Alabama, do they file for divorce in Wisconsin or Alabama?

We have plenty of documentation to help people figure this out, but as non-lawyers, we can't provide legal advice directly.

Here are some other situations where we might engage an attorney:

  • Legal Advice on Filing and Process: Questions like "Should I do this or that?" require legal advice, so we involve an attorney to provide the right guidance. We've built an attorney network specifically for this purpose.
  • Peace-of-Mind Check: If a couple goes through a kitchen table divorce without mediation or case manager assistance, they might want an attorney to review the paperwork to ensure everything is correct. Our attorney network can provide this peace-of-mind check to verify that the legal documents align with the couple's intentions.
  • High-Conflict Cases: Sometimes, divorces can turn into "War of the Roses" situations. Our attorney network can step in for a full, traditional engagement in such cases. Our goal is to ensure couples get the legal support they need while minimizing costs and conflict.

Q10: What is Divorce.com's success rate, and how many people have you helped?

We have a success rate of around 90%, and we're really basing that on our refund rate. Sometimes, people call and need a refund because it's turned totally contested, or sometimes, things just work out, and people reconcile.

Q11: What is the mediation process for people who hire Divorce.com?

At Divorce.com, we handle mediation with a structured agenda covering topics like custody, asset and debt division, and ongoing support such as alimony and child support.

The mediation happens over Zoom, and our experienced staff, well-versed in divorce mediation, guides couples through the decision points that need to be addressed. They use a set of tools to help spouses reach an agreement on all aspects, so once everything is settled, the paperwork can be signed, filed, and finalized.

Q12: Does the case manager function as the mediator, or is it typically someone else within the company?

It's someone else within the company. We want the case manager and mediator to wear different hats. During mediation, it's important that couples feel the neutrality of the mediator, so the role is separated from that of the case manager.

Q13: How do you handle privacy issues in such a personal matter as divorce?

We don't disclose anything to anyone, and we follow all the industry-standard security measures. We handle client records with the same level of confidentiality and privacy that any law firm would, ensuring that personal information remains secure.

Q14: What should viewers know about navigating Divorce.com, and how can they learn more about your company?

Divorce.com is easy to remember, and that's one of the reasons we acquired the domain. On the website, we've clearly explained how the process works, and viewers can schedule an appointment with one of our case managers before becoming a customer to hear more about our services.

You can also sign up directly for the service, and we offer a refund window. As long as you haven't produced paperwork or actually used the product, you can get your money back within that window.

So, it's safe to give it a shot and see if it's right for you. Just visit Divorce.com and sign up!

Q15: What are the circumstances where a traditional divorce route is necessary instead of using Divorce.com?

In cases of abuse, mediation is not the right fit, and a kitchen-table divorce is also not suitable. When someone is in control, and another person is a victim, that victim needs legal representation, so we'd never recommend our platform in those cases.

We're happy to refer them to someone in our attorney network, but a mediated or kitchen-table divorce wouldn't be a good fit for them.

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