Step-by-Step Guide: How To File for Divorce Online

By staff
Updated Nov 22, 2023


content-icon Table of Contents
arrow down up
Step-by-Step Guide: How To File for Divorce Online

Filing for divorce online is an easier, cost-effective, and less invasive way to file for divorce on your own terms. If you’d prefer the simplest divorce process possible, you may find a valuable solution in online divorce.

We've broken down this process into simple steps, answering crucial questions and debunking myths along the way.

Let’s dive right in.

Step-by-Step Guide: How To File for Divorce Online

What Is an Online Divorce?

An online divorce is a modern, more convenient way of legally ending a marriage using internet-based services. Instead of traditional, in-person procedures involving multiple visits to a lawyer or court, online or virtual divorce preparation allows couples to handle most of the divorce process from the comfort of their homes.

Online divorce aims to simplify the paperwork preparation process, save time, reduce stress, and often lower the costs associated with traditional divorce proceedings.

However, getting a divorce online doesn’t mean you can skip court procedures. It only refers to obtaining the necessary court papers you must file with the court clerk in your jurisdiction.

It’s important to note that online divorce is usually most effective in cases where the divorce is uncontested. It means that both parties agree on the terms of the separation, such as custody, support, alimony, division of property, and debts.

Learn about divorce online with

How Does Online Divorce Work?

Online divorce is where most paperwork is generated online rather than in a court or an attorney’s office. In addition, online tools make completing the necessary divorce forms for your state faster and less complicated.

You input your information, and forms are automatically filled. Then, you can review the data for accuracy and submit it to the court. Sometimes, you can use your court’s online filing portal to complete the process without leaving home.

Note that online divorce doesn’t include the entire process of divorce, meaning that your divorce isn’t finalized from start to finish in just a few clicks. Instead, online divorce refers to preparing your divorce documents with online tools.

Is Online Divorce Legit?

Yes, online divorce is a legitimate way to dissolve a marriage. Many online platforms provide state-approved forms and adhere to the legal requirements for divorce in each jurisdiction.

As long as the court receives all necessary forms and the general information they contain is accurate, your divorce will be legitimate.

The legitimacy and success of an online divorce largely depend on the chosen service provider, and it's crucial to select a reputable platform.

Can You File for Divorce Online?

It’s always possible to complete your divorce documents online. It isn’t always possible to file them online. Some states have electronic filing portals that will allow you to submit digital copies of all divorce paperwork. Other states require that the paperwork must be printed and physically brought to the courthouse.

What Are the Advantages of an Online Divorce?

Understanding the benefits of online divorce is key to making an informed decision. Apart from being easy to navigate from home, this approach has many other positives.

Let's look closer at the key advantages of going through an online divorce process.

Reduced Cost

When you file for divorce online, you pay to use tools backed by expert support.

You provide your information, the tools generate the appropriate papers for your divorce, and you review the paperwork. If it all looks good, you can file it. If you need to amend something, you can make adjustments.

Then, when the paperwork is ready, you can file it with the court. Some online divorce services also come with a money-back guarantee.

When you have a lawyer prepare your paperwork for you, you’re paying per hour for that lawyer’s time. A divorce lawyer can charge as much as $200-300 per hour, which is substantially more expensive than filing on your own.

You may skip hiring an attorney if you and your spouse agree on most things or decide to go for a no-fault divorce. In addition, attorneys are expensive, and you should only hire them when you’ve exhausted all amicable options.

Solving minor disagreements through mediation sessions and settling your own divorce can save you as much as $10,000 in attorney fees throughout your divorce.

Court-Accepted Forms

Getting a divorce online helps you minimize the risk of incorrectly filling out the required divorce forms and having them rejected by the district court.

Our automated form-generation process helps you avoid making mistakes in divorce paperwork.

Learn about divorce online with

Expedited Process

When you file independently, you don’t have to wait for your lawyer to prepare your divorce case and documentation.

Lawyers are very busy people. So you’ll need to set up a meeting to discuss the details of your situation. Then, your lawyer will use that information to complete your paperwork when their schedule allows.

If you file online, you can do everything in about half an hour. Instead of going to family courts or even superior courts as litigants, all that’s required is document preparation and following the filing instructions.

If your state accepts electronic filing, you don’t even need to drive to the courthouse to file the paperwork.

No Court Trial

Filing an uncontested divorce online helps avoid going to court for a divorce trial.

You’ll only need to go to court if the judge notices errors or feels your divorce is unfair to one partner. If you’re thorough and use a reputable online filing service, you’re unlikely ever to set foot in court.

Greater Flexibility

If you work nights or lead a busy life, finding the time to prepare for divorce and complete the court-required divorce paperwork can be challenging.

You can use internet divorce services to work on your divorce papers whenever convenient. Regardless of when you have spare time, you can access your paperwork progress 24/7.

4 Key Steps To File for Divorce Online

Filing for divorce online requires your partner’s cooperation.

You’ll need to have a few fundamental discussions and gather information before you start an online divorce process.

Make Sure You’re in Agreement

Before you fill out divorce papers online, you’ll need to make many important decisions.

You and your partner will decide how your assets should be divided. That issue is likely already handled if you have a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement. In this case, you can use this contract as a reference.

If you have children, you must decide on child custody and child support issues and add appropriate provisions to your divorce settlement agreement. Make sure you’re putting the well-being of your children first.

Gather Your Documents

You must gather copies of all financial and legal documents required to complete the divorce forms. For example, you might need titles, deeds, bank statements, insurance details, and information about joint retirement accounts. Also, don’t forget your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement if you have it.

It’s vital to verify your information with official documents. You don’t want to discover later that you’ve made a mistake.

Prepare the Online Forms

You’ll complete a questionnaire to supply valuable information about your divorce.

The answering process can take as little as 30 minutes. It helps to have your partner with you. You may move faster if you’re both available to answer the questions.

With, your online forms are tailored to your unique situation and the relevant state laws, including considerations for children and assets. In addition, these forms are easily generated based on the information you provide.

You only need to review the ready forms and take them to court.

File the Forms

When your forms are completed, and you’ve checked them for accuracy, they’re ready to be filed.

You’ll need to pay your state’s court filing fee plus some additional fees ranging between $80 and $400 on average. However, fee waivers are available when filing a divorce petition, depending on your financial situation.

If your state accepts electronic divorce filing, you can use your local court’s portal to submit the legal documents virtually the moment they’re completed. If your state doesn’t accept e-filing, you can print the court forms and bring them to the clerk’s office.

How Long Does an Online Divorce Take?

The time you spend to obtain a divorce online depends on how quickly you gather the information required by the online divorce service and the state divorce timeline.

The initial step is preparing your customized online divorce paperwork. It starts when you apply for a divorce online by registering with the online service and answering a built-in questionnaire.

The paperwork stage won’t take long if you have all the required information. At the very least, you will wait two business days to get the papers after you’ve answered all the questions.

The rest of the timeline to get a divorce online consists of mandatory divorce filings.

This process has different rules, depending on your state. On average, a typical uncontested divorce can take eight months from filing initial papers until getting a divorce decree.

Note that most states have a waiting period for divorce. It means that couples can’t be officially divorced until a set period has passed after they’ve filed their paperwork. This requirement can add a few months to the divorce process.

Learn about divorce online with

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce Online?

Online divorce services cost significantly less than hiring an attorney for a full-scale representation.

For instance, prices at start at just $499 for basic divorce services. Additionally, you can select a package that better suits your specific situation.

Here are the detailed packages with prices:

DIY Paperwork $499

This package is ideal for individuals who have reached an agreement on all aspects of their divorce settlement with their spouse. Here's what is included in the package:

  • Personalized Divorce Documentation
  • Unlimited Editing Before Filing
  • Customer Support

We File For You $749

This package is designed for people who are ready to document their divorce agreement and want support managing the court process of filing plus serving their spouse for signatures. Here's what is included in the package:

  • Personalized Divorce Documentation
  • Unlimited Editing Before Filing
  • Customer Support
  • Spouse Signature Collection
  • Court Document Filing

Assisted Divorce $1299

This package is designed for people who want personalized guidance before, during and after their divorce without the seemingly endless hourly billing you get elsewhere. Here's what is included in the package:

  • Personalized Divorce Documentation
  • Unlimited Editing Before Filing
  • Customer Support
  • Court Document Filing
  • Spouse Signature Collection
  • Dedicated Case Manager, CDS®
  • White Glove Onboarding
  • Expert Phone Support

Fully Guided Divorce $1999

This package is designed for couples who want help solving their disagreements in a low-conflict, more affordable way than traditional divorce while getting personalized support throughout the process. Here's what is included in the package:

  • Personalized Divorce Documentation
  • Unlimited Editing Before Filing
  • Customer Support
  • Court Document Filing
  • Collect Spouse's Signature
  • Dedicated Case Manager, CDS®
  • White Glove Onboarding
  • Expert Phone Support
  • 4 Mediation Sessions

Is Online Divorce Right for You?

Whether an online divorce is right for you depends on many factors and your situation. While this simple method can be convenient and save money, it only works well in certain circumstances.

Here’s when you can use online divorce services:

  • You and your spouse plan to have an uncontested divorce, meaning you agree on dividing property and settling child custody issues.
  • You are sure that your spouse will be honest and won’t hide assets.
  • Your divorce doesn’t involve complex issues like substantial property and high-value business.
  • You and your spouse don’t have much difficulty communicating with each other and can maintain a civilized relationship during divorce.
  • You want to save time on going to court and have no desire to search and complete confusing forms yourself.
  • You have a limited budget you’re ready to spend on divorce.
  • You are comfortable using online services for paperwork generation.

When Online Divorce Isn’t a Good Option

Although online divorce services have proved to be an easy way to get a divorce by preparing legal forms for filing, this option doesn’t suit everyone.

Before you decide whether to use online divorce services, assess your circumstances and all factors that impact your divorce.

You should consult a legal assistant or mediator if:

  • Your spouse doesn't want to cooperate or is contesting the divorce.
  • You are worried about your or your children’s safety
  • Your divorce involves complex financial matters, such as substantial retirement accounts, real estate, and family business
  • You and your spouse cannot agree on alimony, child custody, and a joint parenting plan
  • You deal with child custody and support matters impacted by other factors, such as relocation or the child’s severe mental or physical conditions
  • You and your spouse have complicated debt issues or outstanding taxes

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Divorce

What Happens When My Spouse Lives Abroad?

You can divorce a spouse who lives abroad if your divorce meets the criteria for an uncontested divorce. The main requirement to start this divorce is properly serving the court documents to your spouse.

If your state allows service via mail, your spouse will only need to accept it and sign a few forms.

Otherwise, you must follow the state rules where you file for divorce and the country where your spouse lives. It might mean translating the divorce papers, sending papers via international registered mail, hiring a foreign process server, and following other steps required by that foreign country.

Learn about divorce online with

What Is the Best Online Divorce Service? prides itself on innovation in divorce. We make it easy for couples to access all the resources they need during their divorce.

We offer online tools to help you file for divorce, on-demand mediation services, and referrals to experienced local attorneys. We offer everything you’ll need for an easy, affordable divorce.

Does Online Divorce Really Work?

Online divorce really works. All you need is to ensure you file your paperwork following the correct court procedure. So check your county’s instructions for filing divorce paperwork and follow them.

Online divorce may not work if your partner is resistant to the divorce process or if you don’t agree on something. If communication isn’t getting you anywhere, you need mediation or the help of a lawyer before you can proceed.

Can I Get a Divorce Online for Free?

In most situations, you can’t get a divorce online entirely free. While some online divorce platforms may offer free blank forms, they will charge a fee for extra help with preparing completed divorce papers.

However, you can avoid paying court filing fees if you qualify for a free divorce. The judge will need proof of your income and assets. You will also need a specific form to request a waiver. If approved, you will spend money on online divorce paperwork, which is usually reasonably priced.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Online Divorce?

No, you don’t typically need a lawyer for online divorce. Since this option only requires filling out the questionnaire, you can do it with your spouse if you agree to all terms.

However, you might need a legal consultation if you and your spouse disagree on minor issues but want to use the advantages of a do-it-yourself online divorce.

Sometimes, you can set a meeting with a lawyer through online divorce services, and many of them offer discounts. But on the whole, it’s not mandatory to have an attorney if you plan to get a divorce online.

Can I Download Divorce Papers Online?

Yes, you can download divorce papers online if they are available at your state court’s official website.

Remember that when you download divorce papers online, you must understand how to fill them out and what forms to use in your specific circumstances. In addition, you will probably need to check the state laws and local court rules.

Plus, different county courts may require additional paperwork.

Another more convenient option is downloading ready-made papers from online divorce services. In this case, all your paperwork will apply to your area requirements.

But, more importantly, you won’t have to fill the forms yourself - the system will complete the paperwork with the appropriate information.

Wrapping Up

Filing for divorce online is simple. It’s much less expensive and significantly less stressful than filing for divorce the traditional way. If you can effectively communicate with your spouse, make online filing your first option.

Check your local laws regarding how to file for divorce online.

Some states make it easy to file for divorce in just a few clicks via e-filing platforms. However, other states still require paper filing in person. No matter how you choose to file, is here to help you prepare your divorce paperwork.

Was this page helpful?

check full green icon Thanks for your feedback! close icon


content-icon Table of Contents
arrow down up