Forward Thinking Family Law Since 1994

Using On-Line Legal Services

There are increasing numbers of on-line services that advertise that they can help you divorce for a fraction of the cost that you will pay if you use a lawyer.  They will often say that on-line divorces are great for couples who agree on the division of property and do not have children.

Recently, I went on-line and inserted information about a fictional couple into the blank spaces of one of the most highly-rated services.  I purposefully included minor children, though at my age and for the length of my marriage, having minor children would be highly unlikely.  I also indicated that my spouse and I did not agree on the division of property or debt.  In other words, my divorce profile did not meet the description for the clientele they serve.

Interestingly, the service was supposedly adapted for Michigan.  However, they used the wrong terminology for Michigan divorces.  For example, they described "community property."  Michigan, like most eastern states, is an equitable distribution state; not a community property state.

After I inserted all the wrong information, the service informed me that I was to be congratulated.  The forms were ready for me to file in court and they assured me that my forms would be accepted..... after I paid their fee.

What was missing?  At lot.  First, if I had been married for over 40 years, I probably had significant and complex property issues.  Secondly, I probably did not have minor children.  If I did, then I had significant custody, parenting time, child support issues.  Third, I am nearing retirement and have significant future planning issues, including the likelihood that someone should consider spousal support.  However, this program did not throw up any alerts or offer any advice, in their rush to get my credit card information.

Most importantly, there was no professional advice.  There was a very description of divorce law in Michigan, which was wrong.

Having practiced divorce law in Michigan for over 34 years, I have encountered over a thousand different scenarios in divorce.  Each case is different.  The concerns of each spouse is different.  It is impossible provide enough information on a website to answer all the questions that divorcing couples have.

Yes, an on-line divorce is less expensive.  But does it meet your needs and answer your questions?  Probably not.  Please remember, the divorce is the beginning of the rest of your life.  Some things are worth paying for.

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