My wife and I have the (misfortune) pleasure of renting a minivan for the week. It's a long story and I accept full responsibility; but for the purpose of this post, I'll just write that she was less than pleased. Needless to say, I had to make sure she was comparably provided for while her minivan was getting a little TLC. Our current rental has all the same bells and whistles (or at least, so we thought). While it technically has SiriusXM Radio, it isn't activated on this particular rental. No big deal right? Mostly so. But with four children (the younger three being 10 and under), we prefer to keep it age-appropriate whenever possible. The stations we typically listen to on a regular basis (with the kids in the car) generally filter songs or content from their song roster to make them a little more kid friendly, meaning, the cursing and sexual innuendos are either bleeped out or rephrased in some way. It's often times the same music, it's just that the songs are toned down a bit. Another benefit to satellite radio is the lack of commercial breaks. After years of being spoiled with satellite radio, it didn't take long to recall just how overwhelming commercials can be.
Well, this morning, my wife heard a radio commercial for VirginiaOnlineDivorce.com. The advertisement seemed to imply that you can get a divorce for just $149. After a little digging (visiting their website), I soon realized they just draft your paperwork. They don't file anything and (upon calling to confirm) they will not provide any guidance or legal advice. You are just on your own. In fact, they market cutting out the middleman (an attorney) as an advantage to their product, claiming the cheapest fee you will find from an attorney is probably $700 plus court costs. Hogwash! There are a lot of other online sources that offer the same service for less.
Just take a little extra time. be patient.
The following is a quote from one of their satisfied customers: "I had no idea I could get divorced this fast and for such a small fee. I had been calling around for weeks looking for a divorce attorney that I could afford. The cheapest one I found was $750. I was just about ready to go with their firm until I did one last search and found You guys." She goes on a bit more singing their praises, but I honestly find it hard to believe that she couldn't find someone for less. Also, if she was looking for a divorce lawyer to help, why did she settle with this particular outfit? According to the disclaimer located at the bottom of their homepage: "[The] Provider is not a law firm. None of [their] customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although [they] go to great lengths to make sure [their] information is accurate and useful, [they] recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice." So, which is it then? Do I need an attorney or not? Often times, I find that clients don't even know what they don't know. They don't know what to ask. They don't know to what they're entitled. What if, in the process of finalizing your divorce with a 100% satisfaction guarantee using a fill-in-the-blank do-it-yourself company, you end up forever waiving your right to your spouse's military pension plan or some other entitlement? Some things can't be fixed after the fact. It's better to know, than to guess and find out later that you got it wrong.
Compare the competition. Do your homework.
Again, there are a number of other attorneys/law firms doing what we do here at Frugal Legal Services®; but you'll generally pay more in the end and, more likely than not, you will not have direct access to the attorney handling your particular case. When you're surfing the web looking for the best deals, just be sure to read the fineprint. When it reads $395, does it include court costs (filing fees)? Does that figure include a separation agreement? Can you really complete everything online without appearing in court? If you call or email your attorney, will you get a prompt response from him or her directly?
If the above reviewer actually did a comprehensive search as she claimed, she would have found a long list of providers that get the job done for less. If your only option is to do-it-yourself, then by all means, do what you have to do. Measure twice and cut once. But know that there are inexpensive options out there that include an experienced middleman (or woman) to hold your hand from start to finish. After all, if their recommendation is that you consult a lawyer for legal advice and they don't staff any lawyers, you're at the wrong place. You need to move on. Let us help you. Callto speak with a divorce attorney today!