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Does Anyone Have Experience With Legal Templates?

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  • Does Anyone Have Experience With Legal Templates?

    I am curious about buying divorce templates online. Has anyone tried? I saw three companies that look good.

    www.legalzoom.com
    https://www.avvo.com/
    https://almu.ca/

    I would rather spend as little money on online divorce as possible.

  • #2
    I would rather spend as little money on online divorce as possible
    Funny how no one wants to spend a lot of money.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by StevenS View Post
      I would rather spend as little money on online divorce as possible.
      /narrator ďAnd that was to be their undoingĒ

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      • #4
        I didn't use templates but used a service to get it done (as sole/uncontested). They took care of all the filings etc and it cost me around $500 (?) plus court filing fees. Done from start to finish in a couple months. Well worth it IMO!

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        • #5
          Glad it worked out for you. With children and significant assets itís not something I am comfortable doing on my own. Plus spouse is already lawyered up so that isnít happening.


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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          • #6
            Luckily for me the kids were both >18 and the assets were not contested. We both had given up on our lawyers....

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            • #7
              The complicated/expensive part isn't the documentation, it's negotiating or establishing the terms of separation.

              Once an agreement is made, I can draft a Separation Agreement in an hour (all lawyers rely on templates). Maybe 2-3 if it's unusually complex. An uncontested divorce is also fairly simple. There are many websites or resources online telling you exactly how to do them, including the Government of Ontario's online filing service. $500+fees is about what my law firm would charge for an uncontested divorce (assuming no complications).

              OP (and those reading this forum), even if your ex signs a properly worded template from the internet, without financial disclosure and independent legal advice, the agreement is of questionable legal value. Courts can set these agreements aside (aka throw them in the trash) due to failure to disclose asserts/income or because the signatory did not have independent legal advice.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Kinso View Post
                OP (and those reading this forum), even if your ex signs a properly worded template from the internet, without financial disclosure and independent legal advice, the agreement is of questionable legal value. Courts can set these agreements aside (aka throw them in the trash) due to failure to disclose asserts/income or because the signatory did not have independent legal advice.
                I am going to expand on Kinso's excellent advice here with some additional "warning" about online resources.

                Templates have very little value if you do not understand the terms both parties are agreeing to. This is a KEY service that is delivered by legal counsel that no template can provide properly.

                The majority of separations are over-the-table agreements that never get filed or followed because both parents are reasonable. This is how it should be. Parents need to be reasonable... Even more reasonable when separating when kids are involved.

                Where the chat 22 happens is when one (or both) parents disagree on the content of the agreement. Or when they go to file for a divorce and attach the table-top agreement to their paperwork and a judge rejects it.

                As well, a judge can only enforce reasonable elements of the agreement that are properly worded. If a judge needs a roulette wheel, dart board, Ouija Board and a Magic 8 Ball to figure out your agreement its garbage and will be tossed.

                First Right of Refusal (FRR) clauses are excellent examples where voodoo is required and are often thrown out by judges.

                What a lawyer brings to the table is a wealth of knowledge of what a "judge" would be willing to and can enforce! As stated by Kinso doing an "agreement" doesn't take long... Getting to the simple language and agreement (or order) is the hard part.

                My rules on agreements:

                1. Written so a grade 8 educated person and read it and understand it.
                2. What is agreed to is legally allowed. (For example, you can't put your own police enforcement clause into a table-top agreement.)
                3. If children are involved it needs a proper access schedule and clearly define custody and how decisions are made.

                There is an interesting software engineering "anti-pattern" that applies to legal templates. It is called "cut-and-paste programming".

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy-a...te_programming

                https://sourcemaking.com/antipattern...te-programming

                Basically, software developers who don't understand the software language will often seek out "examples" and cut-and-paste them together to arrive at what they think the solution is... Trying to develop a legal agreement in the similar anti-pattern results in the same issues.

                There are a lot of anti-patterns that "self represented" litigants do to avoid costs which just increases their costs (personal frustration and $$$). Don't cut-and-paste what you don't understand.

                Good Luck!
                Tayken
                Last edited by Tayken; 08-04-2020, 10:41 AM.

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