Easiest/cheapest way to get a divorce?

A Google search for what’s in the title produces a dizzying array of results, from attorneys to “online divorce,” which totally sounds like a scam, but I can’t be sure.

Background, in case it matters: my wife and I split up over three years ago, and she lives in Louisiana. I’m in Pennsylvania, which is where we got married. No kids, no assets, basically the most amicable divorce possible (we’re still really good friends, even).

We’ve been putting this off forever because, to be honest, we’re both kind of lazy.

Don’t know about the US but I divorced my first wife under similar circumstances - no kids, I let her have everything and I went traveling. It was just a case of going to the Family Court and getting the appropriate papers, filling them in and lodging them with the court. I had to “serve” a notice about the court date. We both went to court and said about ten words and that was it. This was 30 years ago. I’m sure it’s even easier now. Ask at the court. I did my whole second divorce without a lawyer because it is all pretty simple even with kids and assets to split up. Here is a link to the do it yourself kit for an Aussie divorce. There must be something similar for you.

Thank you - that reminds me of a detail that I didn’t mention. It would be vastly preferred if she didn’t have to be present for any proceedings since she is 1300 miles away and all.

I divorced my first wife via FedEx Overnight shipments of the papers for signature. I was in GA, she was in MA, and never the twain did meet. Mine was quick and easy, only asset issue was two cars. It was under $400 as I recall.

IANAL, but a word of warning. Louisiana is a community property state, as well as having vestiges of the Napoleonic Code still in their laws. I am afraid that a lawyer is the safe way to go. The issue, as I understand it, is that in a community property state, the law assumes certain divisions of property even if the parties don’t want it that way. One can set things up how you want, but that takes a lawyer. Sorry, but you need one. Specifically, your wife in La. needs one. They understand the rules better than a lawyer 1300 miles away.

I am in the process of getting a divorce in GA. I wasted money on an online divorce kit only to find that I could have gotten all of the paperwork from the county courthouse for $10. They even have a lawyer that will meet with you for 30 min for another $10. In my case, the divorce is uncontested, so he doesn’t have to be present for any proceedings, he just had to sign the papers (some in the presence of a notary).

So, I would recommend that both you and she contact your local county courthouse and find out what the process is for both counties. Then file in the county that’s easiest.

Also, don’t buy any kits or pay a lawyer until you’ve explored the options at the courthouse. Luckily, it only cost me $85, but it’s still frustrating.

It varies by state, you’ll need to check whether you can file in your state or whether she needs to file in hers.

Here in FL we have what’s called a simplified dissolution of marriage, which you are eligible for so long as there are no kids and both parties agree on how to split up the assets. My ex and I picked up a copy of the dissolution paperwork from the court, filled everything out ourselves and then turned it back in to the court. We had to make an appearance before the judge to make it official, and pay the filing fee and that was that. I think it cost around $80 total.

Check here for more information on each state: http://www.divorcehelp.net/statelaw.htm

From the looks of it you can file for a no fault since you have not lived together for two years. I found some more details about PA no fault divorces here: http://www.divorcelawinfo.com/PA/padivexpln.htm

Call up your local county courthouse and ask them what the process is, and whether you can FedEx her paperwork to sign and return. There should be a way to manage that.

Since both parties are in agreement, and there’s no children or property involved, it should just be a matter of going to (or calling) the courthouse (try marriage license department) and asking where to obtain “no fault” divorce forms. You should be able to get one at or near the courthouse. You don’t need lawyers and it shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars for forms and fees. Buy the form (make sure you get the right one), fill it out and mail it to her for a signature, have her mail it back to you, and file. You’ll be divorced in short time.

Getting lawyers involved will send your expenses through the roof, even if the case doesn’t go to court, so avoid this if at all possible. If you do need legal help and don’t have a high income, you might be able to ask for reduced fee legal assistance - ask at the courthouse or the place you get legal forms from. It will still run you at least $5-600 though.

Caveat: I am not a lawyer, and I don’t know if the location you got married or the fact that she resides out of state makes any difference. But the fact that you’re both amicable is the key to a cheap and hassle free divorce.

Yeah, I remember hearing about the community property thing when I lived down there. Does it matter that we didn’t get our marriage license in that state, but rather came up here to get married? Of course, we did spend our entire married life down there, soo…

I don’t know. The last thing I want is to get lawyers involved. I’m broke enough as it is.

In my case, it didn’t matter where we got married, only the current residence of the plaintiff. I had to prove that I had been a resident of the county in which I filed for 6 months.

Again, you really need to check with your county courthouse and hers to find out what your options are.