Got Hitched Too Fast Like Kim and Kris? Say 'I Do' to a DIY Divorce

You wed on a whim, on a bender, or whatever it was that compelled you to commit to love, honor and cherish. Now you want it over. Sound familiar?

While we hate to bring up Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' union gone bad in a hurry, for the non-famous, there's a way to end a marriage on the cheap. It's relatively fast, and couples can part with their dignity intact.

Reverse your walk down the aisle with a do-it-yourself, uncontested, no-fault divorce. In many states you can simply download the forms, submit them for between $200 and $400, and wait two to six months for the court to grant the divorce.

"It's certainly the quickest and cheapest way to get it," explains Steven Goldfeder, a New York matrimonial lawyer at Blank Rome LLP, which handled the divorces of Donald Trump and Howard Stern.

Here's the catch: An uncontested "pro se" (lawyerese for DIY) divorce is a good way to go only if you have neither children nor considerable assets to protect, Goldfeder says. Custody, alimony and property issues can get tricky without professionals involved.

"If both sides have very little money, it doesn't pay to retain lawyers," he explains. Goldfeder draws the DIY line at around $50,000 in the bank and home ownership.

But Ed Sherman, a California attorney who authored Make Any Divorce Better!, recommends avoiding lawyers at all costs. "Getting lawyers involved is a very good way to have high conflict," he says. "The legal system is adversarial. Lawyers are trained to fight."

As many of you know, splitting couples can fight without any training at all. Resist the urge. You and your short-term sweetie will have to collaborate on your divorce. You will have to agree that it's the right thing to do, and that everybody moves on with what they had before the marriage. The law means what it says in stipulating "uncontested."

We don't know of many divorce-related arguments that end with "Gee, honey, you're absolutely right" -- but do your best. "It's much less expensive if people are going to cooperate regardless of how the divorce is done," says psychotherapist and divorce coach Micki McWade.

The moment either of you lawyers up, you can kiss your discount divorce goodbye. "Sometimes, the only way that you can reach someone is through the wallet," McWade says. "People don't want to spend more than they have to. But there are some who are just too angry and don't care how much it costs. That often ends when someone starts writing retainer checks for a lawyer, when they realize it's tens of thousand of dollars."

Sometimes, the parties have to overcome the shame of making such a big mistake before they can reach an accord, the psychologist adds.

At least the blame doesn't have to swatted back and forth like a tennis ball. Every state is now "no-fault," meaning couples no longer have to cite specific problems such as infidelity or cruelty. For states that offer DIY, you wait the state-prescribed amount of time to file (usually a month to a year) and express that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Residency rules also apply.

One party will often play the role of petitioner, who will file the papers, and the other the respondent, who will be served with the papers. A joint Appearance, Consent & Waiver can assure the judge that both parties concur, cutting the chances of a court appearance, according to Help Abolish Legal Tyranny, a 20,000-member nonprofit devoted to legal reform. In short marriages with no kids or property involved, a hearing is often not required. The court merely signs off and you get the notice by mail.

Some state courts also offer DIY forms for annulment, which wipes the marriage from the record. In those cases, you have to prove your grievance. It's usually fraud, such as a spouse confessing he or she never really wanted children and just said so to induce marriage. Sometimes it can be incapacity, such as "I had eight vodka gimlets on the Vegas Strip before we entered the chapel." Some states, like New York, do not post annulment forms online, and direct visitors to consult with attorneys. Annulments can be more difficult, our experts say.

As long as you can be nice through the process, a DIY divorce will work for the impetuously hitched. It took Kardashian and Humphries a whole 72 days to figure out they weren't right for each other. Following through on their breakup in Hollywood fashion will require an army of lawyers and a whole lot of reality-show money.

You, on the other hand, will get to live happily after with your finances and sanity intact, and no tabloid attention whatsoever.

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Very good article. There are a lot of companies that offer to prepare documents for a simple divorce. The problem is that they don't actually file the documents and process them with the court, that falls on the filing party. However there is a company that does the divorce from start to finish and they file everything for you. You do not have to go to the court at all. There name is Divorce Preparation Services, ( If you are in Southern California look them up. They are very helpful.

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December 29 2011 at 10:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Big Bald-headed Baby

fellas avoid the drama and embrace solo sex!

November 14 2011 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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--------What ever happened to just dating. Why marry when you still want the attention of others..and that goes for both?
Lots of people out there giving marriage a worse name than it already had. I don't think many people even know what "love" is any more. It's sad. There is a song called "What's Forever For"...go listen to it. Sort of says it all..if anything can. Divorce..what a waste of a beautiful thing called love.

November 14 2011 at 11:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Uncle Chuck

I don't think getting married too fast was their problem. I think getting married for the wrong reason tops their list.

November 10 2011 at 10:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Don't get married.

November 10 2011 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Heard they were getting $14 million for the TV and tabloid rights to the divorce.

November 10 2011 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi Spurgeon, I'm sorry to hear about your divorce paperwork experience. There are many companies out there that you can use and not have a bad experience. I know of this company called Superior Legaldocs that does excellent paper work and I know a few people who have good experience with them. Their website address is You should try them.

November 10 2011 at 7:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

well I knew it wouldnt last,

He's Not Black.....

November 10 2011 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jerry's comment
Big Bald-headed Baby

stop playing the race card jerk

November 14 2011 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply