Simplifying the Divorce Process

An online solution for those who can't hire an attorney to facilitate their divorce
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This story appears in the June 2002 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

There may be no such thing as a clean divorce, but now at least there's a way to make it less complicated. Seattle-based family law attorney Randy Finney has taken all the paperwork necessary for an uncontested divorce filing and loaded it onto his Web site,, allowing people a quick and inexpensive filing option. "People [were calling] me all the time looking for a way to complete uncontested divorce paperwork without hiring an attorney, and I couldn't help them without charging them for my services," explains Finney, 35. "I came up with this as a way to help them complete the paperwork in a professional and accurate way without hiring a lawyer."

Finney launched the site in May 2001 for residents of Washington state. Since then, he's added California, Florida, New York and Texas, and he hopes to have all 50 states available soon.

Visitors to the site must first verify that they meet residency requirements for the state in which they're filing for divorce. Next, they answer some questions, and the site takes those answers and inputs them into the correct lines on the divorce forms. Once the forms are reviewed and printed, both parties simply sign the forms and submit them to the local courthouse.

The cost for all this, excluding court-filing fees, is $249. "It's [far] less than hiring an attorney but enough to pay for our time and hopefully turn a profit," Finney says.

And what do other attorneys think of this alternative? "The reaction from the legal community has been largely very good," Finney says. "We have had a bit of criticism from people who seem hyper-protective of their business, but the vast majority of attorneys have said it's a good thing--these are people who usually can't hire a lawyer or won't hire [one] anyway."

Edition: September 2017

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