Nov 12

Hiring a Family Lawyer vs. Buying Divorce Papers Online

Written by: Megan Dell

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Hiring a Family Lawyer vs. Buying Divorce Papers OnlineMany people are unsure about the prospect of hiring a family lawyer to get divorced.  Some believe they can do it themselves, and others simply aren’t able to pay a lawyer.

People going through a separation usually think about divorce in terms of the end goal: getting the divorce decree.  They view this document as being the lawyer’s entire product, which is why some online companies are gaining popularity.  These services offer a product that looks like legal services, but don’t provide any real advice or security.

In truth, when you hire a family lawyer for help with your divorce, you’re getting much more than a document.  You’re paying for a process:

  • You’re paying the lawyer to know the odds and ends of procedure, including timelines, what constitutes effective service, and how to uncover information.
  • You’re paying the lawyer because he or she has some insight into what the Court would be likely to do with your circumstances.  This insight can be gained only through research and experience.  (Alternatively, you’re paying the lawyer to find information because he or she knows how to find the information you need.)
  • You’re paying the lawyer to negotiate the best deal for you, compared to what the Court would likely do in the same circumstances.
  • You’re paying the lawyer to draft an agreement and/or decree that is favorable to you: it has to be practical, in that you are actually able to live under it; it has to be specific so that you and your spouse both have a clear understanding of your respective rights; and it has to be enforceable so that you have some recourse if something goes wrong.
  • And you’re paying the lawyer to deal with the process – going to the courthouse to file documents, talking with employees of the Clerk of Court, talking with the opposing party to negotiate details, and the like.  The lawyer’s job is to stress about the details so you don’t have to.

Online legal services don’t help with any of these steps, and they aren’t able to give legal advice.  In fact, their websites usually make clear that the information they provide is not legal advice, and sometimes that information is wrong.


Unfortunately, getting a divorce is more complicated than simply writing the final decree.  That is why it’s a mistake to think an online document service can accomplish the same goal that a family lawyer can.

If you’re ready to have a conversation about getting divorced, schedule a consultation with our family lawyer today.