Cheap divorce in Los Angeles. That probably sounds impossible. But you do have several options to keep your divorce cheap, even in Los Angeles and other big cities.
You’ve got plenty of incentive. Consider the costs: peace-talks. A medium-priced, experienced divorce lawyer told me last week I don’t remember the last time I did a divorce that cost less than $10,000. In lawyer hours, thats about 45 hours of lawyer time. I had the same experience when I was a litigation attorney.
So here are some cheaper divorce options in Los Angeles.or anywhere:
1. Do it yourself. Nolo Press offers a do-it-yourself manual and essential-guide-to-divorce and your local court web site probably also has DIY resources. Los Angeles Superior Court has all the necessary forms online. Don’t worry the clerks will let you know if you did something wrong. It may take a few tries to get every paper filed correctly, but you cant beat the price point: free.
The downside is that you don’t have a professional to look over the agreement, and you might miss something or write up your agreement in a way that’s confusing or costs you more in taxes. But if your financial situation is pretty simple, this can be a good way to go.
2. Document preparation services can prepare and file paperwork for you. Some states allow this, and some don’t. Los Angeles is full of document preparation services. Just be sure and check their credentials carefully, some of these folks are untrained or worse. But the good ones are good and provide a valuable service to the community.
Document preparation services are typically a fraction of the cost of an attorney (and much cheaper than two attorneys) and they do this kind of paperwork all the time. They’ll know how to file the papers and get it right the first time. On the other hand, because they’re not lawyers they’re not allowed to give you any legal advice or suggest what to file or how to come up with your agreement. Like doing it yourself, if you don’t need legal advice, this can be a good (and more convenient) way of keeping your divorce cheap in Los Angeles.
3. Mediation is a significantly cheaper alternative to hiring individual lawyers. As you can see in the cost comparison link above, its about 90% cheaper, in fact. Hard to believe, but its true. And you can keep your costs down even further by doing some of the preparation in advance peace-talks and being ready for your session. Because many mediators are lawyers, they can give you legal information (not advice) and make sure you don’t make a legal mistake you’ll regret.
Mediation is also faster than going to court. If your mediator will also prepare your legal paperwork for you (some do, some don’t) you can really streamline the process.
Its Our mediator’s job to make sure you cover all the issues, that you both get input into the process and that everyone gets heard. So even if you’re in conflict, mediation makes sure that the final deal is fair to everyone.
4. Hire 1 lawyer instead of 2. Technically the lawyer can only represent one spouse, not both, but if you’re basically on the same page then this option can work, too. It’s probably about the same cost as mediation, though, and the lawyer only works for one of you, so you need to be sure you can trust the situation.
This is a good idea if you and your spouse are both aware of the finances and you’re not just hiring one lawyer to bamboozle your spouse (and you’re not afraid of getting bamboozled yourself).
So whats the best choice? It depends on your situation. Were mediators, so of course we favor mediation because everyones’ rights are protected, a professional prepares and looks over the legal paperwork, and mediation makes sure everyones’ point of view is heard. Mediators make suggestions as to settlement options, which can move the process along.
The good news is that it is possible to have a cheap divorce in Los Angeles! For more information, visit http://www.peace-talks.com