Can you get an “easy online divorce” in SC?
It’s easy, fast, affordable, and stress-free! No attorney fees required! You can file for divorce from the comfort of your own home, and there is a 100% money-back guarantee! What could go wrong?
If you are separated, considering divorce, and have searched any divorce-related topics online, you may already be seeing targeted advertisements for an “easy online divorce.” It sounds great – you can get a no-contest divorce, save money, avoid paying attorney fees, and you don’t even have to show up in court!
Except, as is often the case when something sounds too good to be true, it is not true. You cannot file for a SC divorce online, you will have to go to court except you won’t have the advice of an attorney when you get there, and you could unknowingly make irreversible mistakes that may affect your future and the future of your children.
Is There a Such Thing as an Easy Online Divorce?
It’s true that you can find separation agreements, generic divorce complaints, and many other legal documents online. It’s also true that these generic documents are terrible.
Every case is different, and there is no generic document that can adequately explain to you the options that are available to you under SC’s divorce laws and advise you as to which options are the best for you and your family given your unique circumstances.
Can’t I Just Represent Myself in My Divorce Case?
Wait, of course we would tell you an “easy online divorce” is a bad idea, right? We are divorce lawyers who make our living representing clients in divorce court, right?
Well, not exactly. We are divorce lawyers, yes. And we do make our living representing clients in divorce court, as well as other types of legal cases.
But we are also in the business of protecting our clients from people who want to take advantage of them – for example, companies who offer an “easy online divorce” with a “100% money-back guarantee.”
You can represent yourself in divorce proceedings, although it is not recommended. If you must represent yourself in your divorce proceedings, you are sure that you have an uncontested no-fault divorce, and you don’t mind taking the risk of losing rights that you are unaware of or locking yourself into a divorce decree that you may later regret to save a few dollars, SC has made it easy for you.
SC has created a divorce self-help system that includes the forms you will need to file for divorce and instructions to provide you the basics of SC divorce law – the same forms that “easy online divorce” companies provide to customers except these forms are created by SC divorce lawyers, approved by the SC courts, and they don’t cost anything.
Keep in mind, however, that the self-represented litigant packet is not intended for people who just want to save money on a divorce lawyer. It is intended for people who are indigent and to provide meaningful access to the courts for people who just cannot afford to pay an attorney, even for a low-cost, uncontested divorce.
Why an “Easy Online Divorce” is a Bad Idea
An “online divorce” or even a divorce using the SC courts’ self-represented litigant packet only works, if it works, when you truly have an uncontested, no-fault divorce. If there are any issues that are contested, including alimony, division of assets, fault-based grounds for divorce, child custody, child support, or child visitation rights, things are much more likely to go sideways.
Even if you have an uncontested divorce and both parties agree to everything in advance, what could go wrong?
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
It would be impossible to cover all of the issues that can potentially arise in your divorce proceedings from the initial filing and service of the Complaint through the final divorce hearing, but we have already provided a summary of the more common potential procedural and substantive issues in this article.
The bottom line is you don’t know what you don’t know. There are issues that you may not have considered, assets that your spouse has not told you about, alimony you did not realize you were eligible for, rights that you did not know you had, and, if you have children, the stakes are much, much higher.
There is No Attorney Advising You When You Buy an “Online Divorce”
Websites that offer an “easy online divorce” might make it sound as if there is a competent divorce attorney who will be advising you “behind the scenes” if you purchase their product.
If you look at the “fine print” and disclaimers that are also on their website, however, you will see that there is no attorney, you will not get legal advice, and you are on your own once they provide you with the forms (the same forms you could have gotten for free using the links above).
You May Not Get a “Do-Over”
When you sign legal documents like a separation agreement or consent order, it is legally binding, and you may not be able to undo it later. Decisions that you make without the advice of counsel related to the division of assets or allocation of debts cannot be modified later, and, if you are flying blind without an attorney, there is a good chance that you will make some decisions you will regret.
Other decisions that you make like those relating to child custody or child support may be modified later, but it will take another court case and, most likely, the assistance of an attorney to make the modifications…
If you are considering separation or divorce, talk to your Myrtle Beach divorce attorney on the Axelrod team as soon as possible. Whether you have a simple, no-fault divorce with no contested issues or a complex separation involving children, assets, and multiple businesses, we will help you to protect your assets, your children, and your rights during the divorce process.