Why a 99$ divorce is not a good idea by Attorney Michelle Barry
A 99$ divorce is not a good idea because you are only buying the forms. The person who sells them to you cannot give you advice on how to fill them out. As well, that $99 fee does not include court filing fees which are usually hundreds of dollars.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Welcome back, everybody. My name is Tom Olsen, the name of the show is Olsen on Law, every Saturday at 11:00 AM right here on News 965. I'd like to introduce you to Attorney Michelle Barry, she specializes in family law, including divorce, alimony, child support, and time sharing. Hey Michelle, welcome to the show.
Attorney Michelle Barry: Hey, thanks for having me, Tom.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Michelle, I get email questions all the time and when I get the family law divorce questions I always send those emails to you. We had one last week that I wanted listeners to hear about and that is, it was a couple that followed a sign that said $99 divorce and I want you to tell listeners out there what might go wrong if you pursue one of these signs that say, divorces for $99.
Attorney Michelle Barry: Well, those signs are somewhat misleading because what those are, are basically for document preparation and if what you have are two people with, for instance, no children, no assets, no debt, nothing to worry about, fighting about, sometimes there's nothing wrong with going to a document preparation service, however, that's all you get.
If for instance, it turned into a contested divorce or something a little bit more ugly, then all of a sudden you'd realize you don't have an attorney, you've got some documents that have been prepared, also that $99 fee does not include the cost of filing because filing in of itself is over $400 so that's just to file any divorce in Florida. But the document preparation can be helpful if there's no contest, but more often than not it turns into a situation where an attorney is needed by at least one party if not both.
Attorney Tom Olsen: I had the feeling with this email question, what the people were really upset about is they think, "Okay, I get divorced for $99." And there's nothing on the sign telling them about what the actual court costs are. There are filing fees when you file the divorce, and do those vary from county to county or are they the same throughout the State of Florida?
Attorney Michelle Barry: They are pretty much the same throughout the State of Florida. Some of them, normally, the actual filing fees is $408 and the clerk of court adds another $10 for the service stamp if they have to have summons issued and sometimes there's also-- if there were the filing fee to go through the e-portal, which is the latest thing everybody is using, the electronic filing system the State of Florida offers now, that has been made available to pro se litigants, that are parties representing themselves.
They could use that same portal, that portal charges an extra $5 for the convenience of using it, so you're looking at about $423 to file a dissolution in the State of Florida and that is not included in that $99 fee. Basically, that's a fill-in-the-blank, give me the documents and tell us who you are, and for that money, those folks could do that themselves. That's why it's always best to have a lawyer involved when you're dealing with the legal system.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Well Michelle, when anybody approaches our office or calls our office looking for a family law divorce attorney, you are the one. Tell the listeners how they can reach you.
Attorney Michelle Barry: I do appreciate that Tom, my cell phone number at the office is 407-622-4529, but the best way to reach me is by email, by looking at my website and that is, www. mbarrylaw.com and I look forward to working with you in any of your marital and family concerns.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Thank you, we appreciate it. That's Attorney Michelle Barry, she's a family law divorce attorney right here in Central Florida.