Saturday, January 24, 2004
Reuters: Couples meet online. They choose gifts, plan weddings, scout romantic locales and book honeymoons online. And, if things don't work out, they can pull the plug and file for divorce online.
Divorce Online (http://www.divorceonline.com) is supported by the American Divorce Information Network, a group of professionals that include therapists, members of the legal system, and financial and educational planners. There is a Divorce Checklist and articles like "Choosing a Matrimonial Lawyer," which may be the most important decision you make.
While divorce can be painful, complicated and financially devastating, it doesn't have to be, maintains LegalZoom, the online legal service center. A founder of LegalZoom is defense attorney Robert L. Shapiro, whose high-profile clients have included O.J. Simpson, Darryl Strawberry and Tina Sinatra.
The Web site, http://www.legalzoom.com, guarantees document acceptance by a court and offers peace of mind with customer service specialists standing by to answer questions.
LegalZoom's fee is $249 for a divorce that involves no minor children and $299 for one that does. A savings, it says, compared with $1,880 lawyer's fee, based on an average hourly rate of $228.
In an uncontested divorce, couples can use the three-step process from CompleteCase.com (http://www.completecase.com): Sign up, answer the questions provided, and finally print and sign forms before filing them with the court.
"LegalZoom and Completecase do offer the actual paperwork," said California lawyer Stephan Elias, who also writes for Nolo Press, publisher of a broad line of self-help books. "But both appear to be based on questionnaires that are used to enter information into proprietary software behind the scene, a sort of independent paralegal business with an online front end."
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