Divorce is a difficult and painful experience that can be filled with hurt feelings, anger, and despair. If you are short on cash, the last thing you want to be concerned about during divorce is stress over whether or not you can afford to file the paperwork. Legal Zoom estimates that the average divorce filing fees are between $100 and $350, depending on where you live. The timing of your divorce should be determined by what makes the most sense for your life, not when you have enough money. With a bit of strategy and some knowledge about how the filing process works, you can file for divorce even if don't have enough money.
Decide on the type of divorce you wish to file. This can vary by state, but you will most likely have an option to file an "uncontested" divorce if you and your spouse agree on terms or file paperwork telling the court and your spouse what you want, which your spouse then has an opportunity to fight.
Visit the website of the circuit court for your county and download the forms for the type of divorce you have chosen. If the forms are not available online, you can obtain them at your local courthouse.
Download or pick up a copy of the fee waiver form in addition to your divorce case paperwork. Most courts have a conditional filing fee waiver available.
Fill out your divorce paperwork and fee waiver form completely. The waiver may be conditional on your current or future income level or it may require an explanation as to why paying the filing fee would cause a financial hardship.
Check if your county circuit court offers the assistance of a family law specialist for free. In situations where it is not a feasible option to hire an attorney, a family law specialist can help you go over your paperwork to make sure that it is free of errors and covers everything that you need it to.
File your paperwork, including your fee waiver request, with a court clerk. Because a judge will most likely have to approve the waiver, you will not be asked to pay the fee upfront. The judge may grant your request and allow your filing fee to go unpaid when she approves your divorce. She may also grant you a deferment, which would require you to pay the fee at a later date. Even if you must eventually pay the fee, you will at least have time to get the money together.