How to Get a Free, Quick Divorce

By Roger Thorne J.D.

Updated December 11, 2018

Young couple having marriage problems

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Almost all divorces cost money, though some couples are eligible for free divorce filings whether or not the divorce is a short one. If you want a free divorce that goes as quickly as possible, you and your spouse must meet specific conditions. Getting a free divorce is often difficult, but the speed of the divorce is limited by state laws and whether you and your spouse agree to all the divorce terms.

Talk to your spouse before filing the divorce. Though you can't get around your state's divorce waiting periods or the court scheduling process, you and your spouse need to agree on all terms if you want the quickest possible divorce. Anytime you can't come to an agreement, the court must make the decision for you. This makes your divorce take much longer.

Talk to the court clerk. You can only get a free divorce if the court agrees to waive your divorce filing fee. Contact your local county courthouse clerk and ask about pro se litigant divorce requirements. You should also ask for a fee waiver form. You can only get a fee waiver if you and your spouse are financially unable to pay the filing fee for financial hardship reasons. Each state has different requirements for what constitutes indigent status.

Draft and file your petition and waiver of service. Divorces are lawsuits, so you or your spouse needs to file the law suit and serve the other party with an official copy of the divorce petition. The most effective and cost efficient way to prove service of process is by the non-filing spouse waiving service through a signed waiver filed with the court.

Attend the hearing. Most divorces require that you and your spouse appear before the judge. The court must make sure you and your spouse agree to the divorce settlement terms before she orders the divorce decree.

Items you will need

  • Divorce petition or complaint

  • Waiver of service


Get legal help and know the laws of your state. Each state's divorce laws are different, and each affects your divorce differently. Some states allow for expedited and even emergency divorces, while others require waiting periods before a divorce decree is entered. Contact a local legal aid organization and ask for any information about your state's divorce laws. You can also contact lawyers or the state bar association for a list of lawyers that offer free services.