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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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!
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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 nyLegaLstore.com is lawyer prepared documents custody to your situation but allows you the cost saving for doing the leg work yourself. Even via your ipad.
BRAD S. MARGOLIS,ESQ.
NYLAWYER2GO IPHONE/IPAD APP
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