Table of Contents:
- How to File for Divorce for Free in Florida
- How to File for a Free Divorce in California
- How Can I File for Divorce for Free in Virginia?
Determine whether you want to represent yourself in your divorce case. Provided your income--or lack of--permits, you can also seek free legal representation from either a legal aid organization in Florida or from a Florida law school clinic. Both of these types of organizations provide free legal representation to individuals seeking divorces based on a consideration of their incomes.
Apply for representation through a legal aid organization or a law school clinic if you make that decision. The application forms essentially request basic information about your income as well as facts about your divorce case.
Obtain a Petition for Divorce form from the clerk of the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse reside. Make certain you receive the guidelines for completing the form as well.
Fill out the Petition for Divorce form. The information you provide includes basic information about you and your spouse, the date and location of your marriage ceremony and the names and birth dates of any children born during the marriage.
Sign the petition form.
Obtain an affidavit of poverty and motion to waive fees from the clerk of the circuit court. Insert information regarding your financial situation on the affidavit. The affidavit must be signed in front of a notary public. Complete the motion form, which requests that the court forgo charging you a fee to file a divorce petition.
File the petition, affidavit of poverty and motion to waive fees with the clerk of the circuit court.
Acquire Judicial Counsel of California form FW-001 (“Request to Waive Court Fees”) and Judicial Counsel of California form FW-003 (“Order on Court Fee Waiver”) from any state court clerk’s office in California. The forms are free.
Fill out the requested information on page 1 of form FW-001. Under item 3 of the form, enter “In Pro Per,” which tells the court that you are not represented by an attorney. Under item 4, check the box next to “Superior Court.” Item 5 shows three options. If collecting public assistance, check box A, then check the box for the type of assistance being received. If you are not collecting public assistance, but your gross household income is less than the figure represented in the chart under box B, then check box B. If you are not collecting public assistance, and your gross household income is greater than the figure represented in the chart under box B, check box C, which indicates that you do not earn enough money to pay for your household’s basic needs and the court fees. Sign and date the bottom of page 1.
Fill out the requested income information on page 2 of form FW-001, if necessary. If box A of item 5 is not checked, do not fill out page 2. If box B of item 5 is checked, fill out the requested information for items 7, 8 and 9 only. If box C of item 5 is checked, fill out all of the requested information on page 2.
Fill out the requested information on page 1 of form FW-003. Under item 2 of the form, enter “In Pro Per,” which tells the court that you are not represented by an attorney. Under item 4, check the box next to “Request to Waive Court Fees.”
Write your name at the top left corner of page 2 of form FW-003. Leave the rest of page 2 blank, as it is for court use only.
Make one photocopy of both pages of form FW-003.
Fill form FW-001 and both copies of form FW-003 with your divorce paperwork. You will not be required to pay any filing fees at the time of filing.
Wait for the court’s approval of the fee waiver. The court clerk will mail the photocopy of FW-003 to you. The copy will have been filled out by the court and will indicate whether the request to waive the fees has been granted. If the request has been denied, the reason for the denial will be indicated on page 2 of FW-003.
It's possible to file for divorce in Virginia for very little money if you are low income and file a no-fault petition. Use the free divorce forms available from the court and apply for waiver of filing fees.
Divorce in Virginia
Divorces in Virginia are generally as costly as anywhere else and more complicated than some other jurisdictions. The state retains a "fault" divorce process, where a spouse charges the other with misdeeds and proves the allegations to get a quick dissolution of the marriage.
But Virginia also offers a no-fault divorce. In order to get a no-fault divorce, however, you must prove that you and your spouse have been separated for six to 12 months. The six-month rule applies if you have minor children and have signed a settlement agreement. Otherwise, you'll have to count down a year.
Obviously, you'll pay less overall for an uncontested no-fault divorce, since your court time will be limited, and your need for legal help reduced. Fault divorces are usually heavily contested by the other party and are extremely difficult to manage without an attorney.
Divorce Costs in Virginia
The two primary expenses you'll run into when you consider filing divorce papers in Virginia are: 1) legal assistance costs to complete your petition and file your papers; and 2) the court filing fee. You can avoid paralegal or attorney costs by using free Virginia divorce forms online and filling them out yourself. Avoid filing fees by asking the court for a fee waiver if you qualify.
Virginia Divorce Forms Online Free
From the Virginia courts website, you'll find a link to Virginia Legal Aid's LawHelp Interactive, an online do-it-yourself interview that helps you determine if your circumstances are appropriate for filing for a self-help divorce.
As part of the interview, you provide information that fills in required court pleadings forms. After the interview, you can print out the filled-in forms to file.
It may also be possible for low-income people seeking divorce to get legal assistance at a Virginia Legal Aid office. Call 1-866-LEGLAID (1-866-534-5243) to ask about whether you qualify.
Petition for Fee Waiver
It costs several hundred dollars to file a complaint in Virginia, and the exact amount depends on the county and whether you wish the Sheriff to deliver a copy of the petition to your spouse. But people with very low income might qualify for a fee waiver.
A petition for fee waiver in Virginia is called a Petition for Proceeding in Civil Case without Payment of Fees or Costs. The application is granted only for low-income Virginia residents.
To apply for this fee waiver, fill out the application. It asks for your name and identifying information as well as financial information. If it is granted, you can file without paying for fees and costs.