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Is there really such a thing as a $500 uncontested divorce? How do I find a REAL lawyer that will do it?

Staten Island, NY |

I see ads for $500 divorces, but it doesn't look like a real lawyer is involved. Is this something that a lawyer really does - for about $500, or is that unreasonably cheap? Husband and wife, both NYC residents, have already been separated (on their own) for 9+ years, living separate lives. No children, neither has need or desire for spousal support, and both are otherwise friendly to each other. Just need to formalize the arrangement with a divorce. Prefer an office on Staten Island, where both live, hopefully an office that will see and represent both.

Attorney Answers 7

  1. Not legitimately. The filing fees alone will be in the $400 range.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.

  2. I doubt it. It costs $210 to file the case and $95 to get a judge assigned. Then there is the process server's fee.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. Cheap divorces like the ads you are seeing are most likely done by paralegals. You give them the information and they fill out the forms but they have only (if you're lucky) a minimal knowledge of the law and they can't give legal advice. They are basically just document preparation services. Most times they just prepare the papers and then YOU have to file them yourself and keep your fingers crossed that the Judge doesn't kick them back for missing information. The paralegal can't give legal advice, the Judge can't give legal advice and the court clerks can't give legal advice so if something doesn't go as planned, you're screwed. I have seen people file papers incorrectly and think they are divorced only to find out years later (usually when they want to remarry) that they aren't. Then they finally hire a lawyer! Also those cheap fees NEVER include the filing fees and process server fees which can cost more than $400 on their own. Some will say "poor person application" but the poor person application has to be approved by the county attorney and it's not guaranteed that you will be granted poor person status. Ultimately, retaining an attorney is the best way to go because included in the legal fee will be legal advice to determine if an uncontested divorce is right for your situation, the lawyer will do all the work for you and you know it will be done correctly. Sometimes the peace of mind is worth the extra cost.

  4. As my colleagues have pointed out, it's not a good idea to use a paralegal for all of the reasons they have so well stated. In NYC, the filing fees for an uncontested divorce is $343 ($210 for the index number, $125 for the note of issue and $8 for certifying the judgment). My office charges a legal fee of $750 for a divorce on consent with no property/children. Our office is located in Brooklyn and we have completed over 10,000 divorce since 1986. We offer free consultations and have evening and Saturday appointments.

  5. My office does charge $600 for an uncontested divorce which includes the $335 in filing fees and the rest for the attorney. The ads for $500 normally are just the attorney fees and an additional cost for the court filing fees of $210 for index number and $125 for the note of issue.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or

  6. Sorry, "real" lawyers don't advertise $500 divorces. Real lawyers consult with you first to find out exactly what you want or need (which may be different from what you initially thought because there are things you didn't know you should or could consider), and then they advise you of your options and the costs associated therewith. Good luck!

    Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown's responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

  7. Good afternoon:
    You are absolutely right to be concerned , the problem is that many people pay these sums and all the are getting is recycled forms typed by anyone. In order to find a lawyer to do the same for a fair figure is also very difficult as most lawyers do not want to get involved in a case without hire fees being generated.

    My office can offer a solution .

    My website is lawyer prepared documents custody to your situation but allows you the cost saving for doing the leg work yourself. Even via your ipad.


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