Even though I am a Montana attorney, I certainly do not in a fantasy world where everyone can afford to hire an attorney to assist them with their divorce. Unfortunately, hiring an attorney can be incredibly expensive and not everyone has the means to hire one. Lately, however, I have noticed a troubling influx of do-it-yourself divorce forms online promising things like a start-to-finish divorce for $200.00. Before you drop several hundred dollars on online forms, I urge you to keep a few things in mind.
First, you will recall from previous posts on this blog that there are several options for those that plan to handle their case on their own. See Divorce Options for information and links to divorce forms created by Montana attorneys specifically created for use by Pro Se litigants (a person without an attorney). These forms are featured on the State of Montana’s government website, so I find that they are reliable and based on Montana law.
Next, if you are looking into using online forms from a do-it-yourself divorce website, determine whether or not your case is “contested.” I have looked through numerous on-line pay sites and it is clear that most of those websites are designed for people who have uncontested cases. Uncontested means that both parties involved in the divorce are in agreement about ALL issues in the case: property division, parenting, child support, etc. If your case is contested, a few fill-in forms will probably not cut it.
Rather than pay $300 to a random online site, I suggest you first look into divorce resources in your city. For example, Kalispell has a fantastic Self-Help Law Center at the county courthouse. Second, you may want to take your few hundred dollars and set up an appointment with a local family law attorney, so you can be sure you are getting information specific to Montana law and your own circumstances.