How to Get Divorced with No Money

Wondering if it’s possible to get a divorce with no job and no money? Yes, you can. States don’t want to keep you in a marriage you don’t want to be in, so they provide options for you. In addition to some affordable online divorce options, you may also be able to find support from a legal aid society in your state.

How much does a divorce cost?

Before we delve into the ways you can get financial help with your divorce, let’s look at the cost of traditional divorce.

The cost of a divorce depends on multiple factors, including where you live and the going rate for divorce attorneys in your area. The best way to keep costs down is to avoid retaining lawyers if at all possible. The total cost also depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. The former is often much more expensive than the latter. Divorce with minor or dependent children tends to increase costs, too.

Average cost of divorce with a lawyer by state

Here is a breakdown of the average costs to expect in the states we serve or plan to launch in soon (updated January 2024).


Cost of traditional divorce with lawyer













New Jersey


New York












Attorney fees and court fees are the largest fees you’ll face during divorce. Ultimately, the total will depend on your unique situation, but in a traditional setting, you can expect to pay over $5,000 for an uncontested divorce and double that – or more – for a contested divorce. 

However, there are affordable online DIY options, such as Hello Divorce. Our plans start at just $400, with our premium plan at $3,800. Many of our clients with uncontested divorces do not need any extra help or expenses, but if they do, we have mediators, attorneys, CDFAs, and coaches at affordable flat rates.

Recommended reading: List of Possible Divorce Fees and Costs

Attorney fees

Having an experienced attorney on your side can be invaluable. Of course, that comes at a cost. Depending on where you live and the complexity of your divorce, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 or more for an attorney. 

Court fees

In addition to paying your attorney (if you have one), you'll also have to cover the court fees associated with filing for divorce. These fees vary depending on the jurisdiction but typically range from $100 to $500. However, you may be eligible for fee waivers or reductions. 

Steps to DIY divorce

DIY divorce is a potential way to save lots of money on your divorce. You and your spouse can work on all these steps together or separately. One spouse could also take care of all these steps, as long as the other agrees with the final terms.

DIY divorce is generally more suitable for uncontested cases where both parties agree on major issues (or can get to a final agreement together or with help from a professional, like a mediator). 

Below are the general steps to get a DIY divorce. Keep in mind that legal requirements and processes can vary by state or even county.

1. Research your state laws

Understand the specific family and divorce laws in your state, and find out if your county has any extra rules. Most states have residency requirements.

2. Obtain divorce forms and gather information 

The base form is usually called a Petition or Complaint for Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage. Collect all the relevant information you might need for your paperwork as soon as possible, as this task can be daunting. This includes financial records, property details, and any evidence you may want to present in court. 

You can find most of the forms you will need at the state or county courthouse (or its website). You will file your petition with your county clerk and pay the filing fee – or obtain a fee waiver form. If you are eligible, the clerk can waive the fee entirely. 

3. Determine your grounds for divorce

If you do not live in a no-fault state, you may need to list a reason, or grounds, for filing for divorce on your petition. Common grounds include irreconcilable differences, separation, adultery, and cruelty.

4. Serve your spouse

If required, serve your spouse with the divorce papers according to your state's rules (unless your spouse signs a waiver). Read about how to serve your spouse here.

5. Decide on matters related to child custody and support

If you have children, you’ll need to determine custody arrangements and if either spouse will pay child support. Some states provide online calculators to estimate child support, or you can use our free calculator if you live in California.

6. Asset and debt division

You and your spouse need to come to an agreement on the division of property, assets, and debts. This is a critical aspect of the divorce settlement. Use our template for what to include here, and learn what people often forget here.

7. Draft a settlement agreement

This is the “meat” of your divorce. You’ll need to write a comprehensive settlement agreement that outlines the terms of your divorce, covering issues such as child custody, support, alimony, and the division of assets and debts. There are many templates available online or at your local courthouse.

Make it easier on yourself: Use our Marital Settlement Agreement generator for a court-accepted document to include in your final agreement.

8. Attend court hearings or mandatory classes

Attend any necessary court hearings. In some cases, a judge may need to review your settlement agreement and finalize the divorce. Some states, like Utah, also require parents to take a parenting class.

9. File all of your paperwork

When all of your paperwork is done, you must file it according to your state or county rules, which you can find at your courthouse or its website. You can e-file (online) in most states. You will now need to wait according to any predetermined waiting periods or until a judge signs off on your final divorce decree.

10. Finalize the divorce

Once all terms are agreed upon and any waiting periods have passed, the court will issue a final divorce decree. The date the judge signs and files it, you are divorced.

Again, these are the general steps. You may have additional steps depending on your situation and local rules. 

Financial solutions to help you get divorced

The thought of paying for a divorce may seem daunting. The good news is, that financial solutions exist to help you get through your divorce without racking up an absurd amount of debt.

Divorce loans

A divorce loan is a type of personal loan that can cover the cost of your divorce, including attorney's fees, court costs, and even spousal support or child support payments. There are a few different ways to get a divorce loan. You could take out a personal loan from a bank or credit union, or you could get a loan from a company that specializes in divorce loans. 

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is money loaned to you by a third party, assuming you will repay it over time with accrued interest. It’s important to note, though, that you may pay other fees in addition to interest. The extra money you owe beyond your loan is reflected in your annual percentage rate (APR).

Pros and cons of personal loans

A personal loan can get you cash fast, and your payments toward it are spaced out into monthly amounts that are usually manageable. Your timely payments can ultimately improve your credit score. Another benefit is that the interest rate of a loan is usually much lower than a credit card.

Now, the cons. Just one late or skipped payment usually hurts your credit score. Your “savings” each month will go toward your loan payments, possibly cramping you financially in other ways. It might be better to explore other options before resorting to a loan.

Read our guide: Everything You Need to Know about Divorce-Related Loans

Legal aid

Legal aid is free legal assistance for low-income individuals. There are many organizations that offer legal aid services, which can include anything from advice and counseling to full pro bono representation in court. To see if you qualify for legal aid services, contact your local legal aid office, or search the web for "free legal help."

Every state provides legal aid services to people who can’t afford them. You can find this service in your area by searching for your county and the phrase “legal aid.”

Here are some legal aid resources for select states:

Even if it seems daunting and you’re afraid you can’t afford the costs, know that you have options, including fee waivers from your state. 

Read our guide: How to Get Free Legal Help in Your State.

Divorce fee waiver for indigents

In court cases, “indigent” refers to someone who is impoverished or unable to afford basic necessities. If they can provide evidence that they are eligible, an indigent person can save hundreds in divorce fees. 

How? File an “affidavit of indigency” request with the court to ask for a fee reduction or elimination of divorce filing fees. This offers a way for limited-income individuals to reduce or eliminate the financial barriers to getting a divorce. 

Submit an affidavit of indigency when you file your petition for dissolution of marriage. If it’s approved, the court clerk will then waive or reduce your fees. (Learn more about fee waivers here.) This offers you the potential to save up to $500. It also allows you to better afford possible add-ons such as mediation fees, financial advising, and legal advice.

How to find and file an affidavit of indigency

Each state provides an affidavit of indigency form on its county clerk website. You may also go to your courthouse to get one. Here are the general steps to take:

  1.  Determine your court’s rules: Look them up on your local court's website or by contacting the court clerk.
  2.  Obtain the form(s) on the court's website or at the courthouse. You can also ask the court clerk for help.
  3.  Complete the forms: Fill them out accurately and as completely as possible.
  4.  Attach supporting documents: Make sure you fulfill your court’s requirements, such as attaching pay stubs, tax information, account statements, or other financial records that prove your financial limitations.
  5.  File the forms with the court: Check with the court clerk to see if you need to file in person or if there's an online filing option.
  6.  Attend a hearing (if required): You may need to attend a hearing to determine your eligibility. If so, you will answer questions about your financial situation.
  7.  Wait for a decision: The court will review your request and let you know how to proceed.
  8.  Receive the affidavit of indigency: If approved, the court will issue the affidavit of indigency. This document may exempt you from certain court fees or legal costs during your divorce.

Note: The above process can vary, so follow your court’s specific guidelines. 

How can I apply to waive my filing fee for divorce?

You will need to prove your financial need to the court. To do this, you must provide documentation of your income and assets as well as any debts you owe. This can be done by providing copies of recent pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and credit card bills.

Step 1: Prove your need for a fee waiver 

The first step in getting a fee waiver is to prove your need. Most courts require you to prove that you cannot afford to pay the fees associated with filing for divorce. This may involve providing proof of your income, assets, and debts. 

Step 2: Request a fee waiver 

Once you have proven your need, request a fee waiver from the court. This can usually be done by completing a form or writing a letter to the court. 

Step 3: Attend a hearing 

After you have requested the waiver, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, you will present your case for why you should receive a fee waiver. The court will then decide whether to grant your request. 

In some cases, the court may not grant you a full waiver, but they may grant you a fee reduction. It depends on the evidence you provide and the fees associated with a divorce in your state.

Hello Divorce: An affordable option

Hello Divorce offers individuals low-cost online divorce plans. These range from getting access to legally compliant divorce documents in your state to full legal assistance. We also provide access to attorneys and mediators who can help facilitate your divorce and divorce financial planning with a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). 

Suggested reading on financial help during divorce:


Indigent (definition). The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute.
The Cost of Divorce: Where is it most expensive? 2023. Self Financial, Inc.

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.