How to Get Divorced If I’m Broke?

Let’s state the obvious. Even when you’re in a financially stable position, divorce is incredibly stressful. Now, what happens if you want (or need) a divorce but your bank account is depressingly empty? What happens if you want to get a divorce, but you’re broke?

Too often, spouses, and especially women, decide to stay in unhappy and unhealthy marriages because they fear they cannot afford to get divorced. Their fears are understandable. According to the legal website, Nolo, the average cost of divorce in the United States was $12,900. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, that cost can seem insurmountable.

What do you do? 

Fortunately, there are ways to dramatically lower or even eliminate the cost of divorce. Here’s what you need to know to save money on your divorce.

Stay Out of Court!

The most direct way to save money on your divorce is to avoid expensive legal battles with your spouse. Nolo’s survey of its member found that of the $12,900 cost of an average divorce, $11,300 of that amount came from attorney’s fees!

If possible, file for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse don’t have many assets, haven’t been married for very long, and are able to maintain a cordial relationship, you may be able to hammer out a divorce settlement that you can both live with. That could eliminate the need for expensive lawyers.

However, filing for an uncontested divorce isn’t the right option for every couple. Many couples struggle to find agreement on some of the biggest divorce sticking points, like child custody, ownership of the home, business ownership, spousal support, retirement and pension distributions, etc. 

In these situations, consider trying mediation first before you go to court. According to Thervo.com, meditation can cost between $500 and $1,500. That’s more expensive than an uncontested divorce, but it can still save you thousands or even tens of thousands when compared to waging your battles in court.  

Get Your Court Fees Waived

Even if you and your spouse agree to file for an uncontested divorce, you’ll still be expected to pay a range of court fees to make your split legal. These fees differ from state to state but can run up to $500 or more. These fees can represent a crippling financial burden for some.

If you can’t afford the court fees, you may be able to get them waived. Find your local divorce court or family court online. The website should provide all the forms you need to file for your divorce along with a form requesting a fee waiver.

Download and fill out the fee waiver form, which will ask for your income, dependents, debts, and other financial information. You’ll need to get the form notarized. Many banks and libraries offer notary services for free. You can also go down to the court and have your form notarized by the clerk.

4 thoughts on “How to Get Divorced If I’m Broke?”

  1. Yomaris Silvers

    I’m 46 years old with no children I’ve been married for 10 years Now we’re looking into a divorce We been living in his Father’s house ..Now he’s kicking me out where do I go ? Paying for a divorce is not as expensive Looking for a place to live is so hard because every penny I worked for has been to pay the bills ..Now what

  2. I am so confused I have been married for 18yrs in April 15th 2020 my only daughter died at age 36 8 mths after her death my 2nd husband left me in nov 2020 he came back march 2021 left again june 2021 I filed for divorce in sept 2021 hired a attorney in sept 2021 and now I am getting evicted from my apt and I am still not divorced w that should I do

    1. First things first. Since you are being evicted, you should take steps to figure out where you are going to live. If you need support from your husband, and he has the ability to pay, then file the necessary papers with the court requesting support right away. After that, find out what needs to be done to get your divorce finalized, and move in that direction if that’s still what you want to do.

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