Assistance for Divorce

Updated on April 20, 2010
K.H. asks from Pacific, MO
8 answers

My husband and I have separated and I would like to file for divorce. My husband and I have already decided, between the two of us, an arrangement that works for custody and visitation of our daughter, child support, and the division of what assets/property that we have so the divorce will be uncontested. I have met with 2 attorneys in the St. Louis area and they both want almost $2000 up front for a retainer fee (this is the amount for an uncontested divorce). Neither of us can afford to pay for a divorce if this is the cost, and I would prefer to have closure and move on with my life.

Since I know nothing about getting divorced, I have a few questions. First, does anyone know how I can find legal assistance or aid? I’m afraid I make too much to qualify for free legal aid but it’s worth a try. I just can’t figure out how to find it, and I know it’s out there.

Second, I have seen on the internet, “Do It Yourself” divorce documents for around $200. Has anyone used these documents? I’m wondering if I go this route, and then have an attorney review the documents before they are filed if that would work (and save me a lot of money). Better yet, are these documents available for free?

Can I just go to the court house in the county where I live and file the divorce papers, and when it goes before the judge, can we just tell him what we’ve decided between ourselves?


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answers from Phoenix on

google "easy divorce in MO" and see what comes up. I did that in AZ and there was a link to "the divorce store" which is who I used. It was like $695 which included them doing all the paperwork and filing everything and the court fees. My ex and I also agreed on everything so it was considered "default" since he didn't contest it. Good luck to you.



answers from St. Louis on

K., You can find a mediation lawyer that will charge by the hour with no retainer. You and your husband meet together with the lawyer and she/he will help you file all of the proper paper work. Once the paper work is complete a different lawyer has to actually file the divorce with the courts. I think you must also pay a court fee. The more you and your hubby work out without a lawyer the less time you will need to pay the lawyer for. Most mediation lawyers are about $150/hour. When you call a lawyer ask them if they do mediation. Some actually specialize in it because they encourage amicable divorces. Best of Luck.



answers from Chicago on

I am not sure how it is in your area. You could always contact the court to find out what is needed. A previous coworker got divorced and they also had their own agreement in regards to child care, support, home etc. They had 3 kids and it was a very amicable divorce. They are now best friends, just not good as a couple. It has worked out great for the children as well. They wrote up their agreement and went to a notary to make it more official. Then they were able to get a court date so the judge could declare them divoreced. The judge reviewed their agreement first to make sure it was right for the children affected. I think the judge ordered them to obtain a certain level of life insurance but otherwise went by their agreement. You might be able to do this where you are.



answers from Minneapolis on

I am currently in a similar situation but I am in a different State than you. I called the Family Courts and they offer free mediation and then they have a Self Help section where they list how to file on your own. I would start by calling your local court house. My employer also offers an employee assistance program where I can retain a lawyer at 25% their normal rate. Check to see if your employer offers an employee assistance program. Good luck!



answers from Saginaw on

I dont know about your state but in MI and PA you can do the divorce yourself through the courts. You may be able to go to the library and get the papers or have to buy them through a 3rd party, my papers in PA were $25 dollars and then I pd 145 to file at the court house. There will be insturctions with the paperwork and proly a number for legal aid that can answer your queastions.

As for child support and custody if I were you I would want something done legally protecting your rights. I obviously dont know your husband and what he would do but right now I dont have anything legally done for child support, my ex gives me money but he doesnt have to and Im scared if he gets mad at me or if I start seeing someone else he will cut me off! I dont have money for a lawyer but you really dont need one. If you call your local family court they can give you the number and the state will help you do your child support. I also know that in PA you can do your custody like that too. That is obviously all uncontested but at least it would make it legal and put it into writing to protect you! If he did fight any of it then you would proly need to find a lawyer. Good luck, I am going through a divorce right now with 2 kids and 1 almost here and it isnt easy!



answers from St. Louis on

There are do it yourself things but I was wondering if you realized a retainer is just that. Money to retain a lawyer. If all goes as planned you get the rest of the money back. They collect the retainer because even those that say their divorce is all sunshine and happiness can go bad. Shocking but a lot of people stiff their divorce attorney.



answers from Los Angeles on

I live in California however when I got divorced I went to the court house and they had a free legal aid office. They helped fill out the paperwork and answer questions. I would call your local court house that you would go to file for divorce and ask if they have such a thing. it saved me $5,000.



answers from Dallas on

There are divorce attorneys who specialize in amicable divorces. My friend was in the same situation as you. She met with her attorney to go over the terms, he drew up the divorce decree and represented her in court. All this cost her was around $500 including court costs. Look online to find one near you.

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