Online Divorce Lawyer California
If you have made the difficult personal decision to end your marriage or domestic partnership in California and you and your spouse/partner are in agreement on all issues in the divorce, an online divorce lawyer in California is definitely the best way to go in terms of convenience, low cost and efficiency.
Modern online divorce software crunches the huge paperwork load in a California divorce and reduces the cost of document preparation drastically. And a secure online divorce interview empowers you in your own case. An online divorce interview can be completed in the comfort of your home or office and is a lot better than sitting in a lawyer’s waiting room and being handed a 50-page questionnaire to complete, much of which doesn’t apply to your case, right after you just gave the lawyer $5000. Your data input is much more likely to be complete and accurate if it is entered leisurely through an online divorce interview.
Using an online divorce lawyer in California definitely provides you the best of both worlds. All you need now is to find an online divorce lawyer in California.
Here’s the problem. At this writing, there are very few actual online divorce lawyers in California. The reason there are very few online divorce lawyers is that when this Internet thing began to happen, somewhere around 1999-2000, lawyers and their bar associations had much the appearance of the proverbial deer in the headlights. They were clueless. And that wasn’t only with regard to divorce law practice, of course. It was with regard to ALL legal practice online. However, we are concerned here only with the current developments in California divorce practice which will assist you to obtain an intelligent and cost-effective online divorce in California.
So as a result of lawyers being clueless about the Internet circa 1999-2000, there was a complete vacuum of lawyers offering legal services online. Yet online consumer legal services were obviously going to be a very lucrative industry. Predictably, low-quality online out-of-state con-men filled that vacuum. The result since about 2000 is that many California divorce consumers have been harmed economically and legally by the incompetence and fraud of about two dozen unlicensed, completely unregulated online divorce mills, located mostly outside California, with at least 2 of them in India.
Online divorce mills have controlled the very profitable uncontested divorce industry for 20 years. Very many people have been harmed by their incompetence and fraud. And lawyers have sat quietly, without fighting back to offer an alternative online divorce offering – because they didn’t have the tools or the competitive spirit to do so – UNTIL NOW.
What Are Your Online Divorce Options in California Right Now?
- Hire an unlicensed, unregulated online divorce mill from out of state or in India for somewhere between $300 and $1000. They are substantially incompetent, make very many mistakes and do not know your state’s laws or your county’s Superior Court’s local rules and policies. They will be the blind leading the blind. When they screw up your case, you will have no recourse against them. Your local District Attorney will have no interest in pursuing an out of state fraud action against a divorce mill. Online divorce mills will not provide you with any kind of legal rights checkup or case review in your case. You will rarely be able to reach anyone by phone and if you complain to them, they will simply cut you loose and not respond by email. You can write all the online complaints you want. They don’t care. They are also substantially fraudulent and will subject you to all kinds of price fraud, testimonial fraud and up-selling fraud. They will also have sold your zip code to a local lawyer who will pay them for your case referral. That means they have an actual interest in screwing up your case. If they mess up your case and refer you to their subscribed lawyer, they get paid twice!
- Find and hire a local California-licensed online divorce lawyer in California. That online divorce lawyer will be subject to a real complaint procedure and serious ethical rules through California’s Bar Association. An online divorce lawyer in California will look after your legal and economic rights in your case and be able to provide you with case review and legal advice as needed. An online divorce lawyer in California will know the Superior Court Rules of Court and practices and policies (even of individual judges) in your county. You want to hire the online divorce lawyer in California on what is called an unbundled or limited scope representation basis. That means you will be doing all the footwork of filing your case at Superior Court (it’s easy) and arranging for the service of documents on your spouse. You will be paying for the online divorce lawyer’s services and legal expertise only where they are needed. This is the most economically efficient way to get an online divorce. It truly is the best of both worlds.
Online Divorce Fraud in California
What do I mean when I tell you that online divorce mills are fraudulent? I should, and will, provide you with a couple of examples below, but the danger in providing examples is that you may think they represent the entirety of the available online divorce fraud. They do not. You should assume that the 2 examples I’ll provide below are not only very common but also the tip of the iceberg.
There are so many examples of online divorce fraud: deceptive price anchoring techniques; misrepresentation of fees; up-selling of services that were promised or implied at the “complete” fee; sign-up trickery where they get your basic info and email address before you pay and bombard you with spam if you don’t hire them; client testimonial fraud where the divorce mill owns the testimonial company; online review fraud where the divorce mill owns the review website; client testimonial fraud where the divorce mill represents it has thousands of real testimonials but has forced clients to provide a “testimonial” just minutes after they’ve paid and before any services are provided; claims that all “state forms” are provided when the divorce mill knows that in almost every case there are local county forms also needed but not provided; claims that their fee is “complete” but then charges an “expedite” fee of $125 or you have to wait for 10-12 days to get your docs.
Online divorce fraud is never-ending. There are new frauds all the time. Here are just 2 examples. The first one was brand new around September 2018.
Online Divorce Mill Fraud Example #1 – Price Fraud
Our sister company, NetDivorce, is one of those unlicensed, unregulated online divorce mills. However, it has 37 years (Internet and pre-Internet companies) in California divorce, is honest, highly competent (owned and operated by a British barrister), has issued a no-fraud pledge, publishes prolifically about online divorce fraud and is a founding member of the Online Divorce Association of America. NetDivorce’s flat $129 fee has been the lowest uncontested divorce fee online since 1999. It’s also a complete fee. You cannot pay more.
NetDivorce knows that none of its competitors can come close to matching its fee. They don’t have NetDivorce’s wicked-cool bullet-proof proprietary software and other custom cloud systems developed over the past 37+ years experience in handling ONLY California divorce.
So we were surprised when we saw recently that two of our most incompetent and fraudulent competitors, getdivorcepapers.com and instantonlinedivorce.com , both located in India, were quoting the same $129 fee as NetDivorce. We knew this couldn’t be, particularly as they invest heavily in Google AdWords Pay Per Click – the competitive and wasteful bidding process that greatly increases their costs of doing business and therefore, their fees.
If you ever want to know what recent frauds are being used by getdivorcepapers.com, it’s easy. You just go read their 102 Better Business Bureau complaints. It’s all there. You won’t have to read beyond the most recent 5 complaints to find out that their $129 is NOT a complete fee. What a surprise! It’s a subscription for the first month only! After that first 30 days, they auto-hit your credit card for $35 per month. It takes 6 months to complete a California divorce.
Just for fun, we called getdivorcepapers.com and spoke to a heavily Indian-accented fellow calling himself Shane. Shane didn’t want to admit it, but probably knows about recording devices. So Shane eventually admitted, after we hit him with the question 3 or 4 times, that their $129 is only for the first 30 days. We told Shane that we couldn’t see that mentioned anywhere on his website, and then he hung up on us. Imagine that.
Instantonlinedivorce.com is owned by the same Indian guy who owns getdivorcepapers.com. He lives in Dubai. We would have liked to call instantonlinedivorce.com too, but they don’t even list a phone number on their website.
Be very careful, folks. The online divorce industry is completely unregulated. We’ve filed 2 slam-dunk criminal complaints with the FBI online fraud division in the last 4 years and no action was taken on either. We’ll probably file on this one too – and nothing will happen. Divorce consumers are getting hurt and no one cares.
Don’t hire any online divorce company unless you see the Online Divorce Association of America seal on its website.
Online Divorce Mill Fraud Example #2 – Testimonial Fraud
While the online divorce industry is subject generally to laws concerning false advertising and criminal fraud, as a whole, it is largely unregulated. There is no effective licensing or bonding or regulation. We turned in this fraud to the FBI online fraud division back on January 30 2015. It was assigned Complaint ID: I1501301241468482. We were never contacted after we filed. Nothing ever happened, and this fraud still exists and is still defrauding divorce consumers 4 years later.
Mydivorcepapers.com is an active California-based online divorce provider. Idivorceforms is a sister company. In July 2013, mydivorcepapers.com and idivorceforms.com began to display on the top page of their websites a certified customer testimonials service called certifiedcomments.com. This purports to be a service that contacts a subscribing company’s customers, confirms that they were in fact customers of the company in question and obtains from them comments, presumably mostly positive, about the company’s performance. Such legitimate companies provide a potentially valuable service in telling future potential customers what to expect and what others have experienced – providing of course that the testimonials are legitimate and unpaid, are from real customers and that the certification company is independent and transparent. There are a number of such legitimate services around.
But public confidence must also be important to a service like certifiedcomments.com. In fact, certifiedcomments.com refers to public confidence on its remarkably simple 3-page website (top page, login page for “existing clients” and an email page to request an “invite” – all other pages on the site are disconnected). They say, “Show your customers that you are real and that each of your testimonials has been validated by a third party as being 100% real.” and “We offer a 100% guarantee that we have exercised best practices to validate the testimonials displayed on your website.” And then the most impressive, “We will not display our seal of approval on any testimonial unless we are confident that it is real and passes our inspection. If we do not, we will pay you $250,000.”
Certifiedcomments.com must have quite an extensive clientele – given their dedication to honesty and integrity. Let’s take a look at how popular they are. They must have many corporate clients. Go ahead and search on “certifiedcomments.com.” In Google Search, I found this on the top page of the search results. Of the 9 top entries, 3 of them are the 3 public pages on the certifiedcomments site and 4 of them are the pages for mydivorceforms.com and idivorcepapers.com on the certifiedcomments site. I went 5 pages deep in the search engine results and found not one other entry that referenced certifiedcomments.com and any other client, other than mydivorcepapers.com and idivorceforms.com. It appears that certifiedcomments.com has only those two subscribing customers. It’s just amazing that these two online divorce sites appear to be the only clients of certifiedcomments.com.
There’s no street or mailing address or phone number or email address exposed on certifiedcomments.com. How do their clients or potential clients contact them? Oh yeah, through that webmail contact form on their site. So the next thing I did was to send three requests across a 2 week period. As expected, I heard nothing back from certifiedcomments.com.
I still wondered where certifiedcomments is located. So I pinged their domain name server and lo and behold, it’s in Irvine, CA. It has a Cox Communications IP address. Next, I took a look at all other domains on the same Cox Communications IP subnet as certifiedcomments.com. And here’s that list. What an incredible set of coincidences. The very same certifiedcomments.com service that mydivorcepapers.com uses as an independent certified testimonial service is hosted on the very same server as getdivorcepapers.com!
After I originally wrote online (back in 2015) about this fraud, the IP address of certifiedcomments.com was changed within a few days. That was why I took the screenshot of the list of domains on that IP address. However, this particular certifiedcomments.com testimonial fraud is still being used by mydivorcepapers.com in December 2018.
Fraud is the obtaining of some advantage or gain by intentionally representing that a substantive fact is true when it is not and you know, or should know, that it is not. If you obtain business, i.e. gain, by the intentional representation that you have earned 3595 legitimate client testimonials (as of December 2018), as verified and certified by an independent certification company in the business of performing such functions, when you know that said representation is false, or should have known it is false (it is not a defense to criminal fraud to claim that you were ignorant when such ignorance would be reckless – you cannot purposefully hold yourself in ignorance of what appears on a website for which you are responsible), then you are guilty of criminal fraud.
Don’t be fooled by mydivorcepapers.com. They do NOT have 3595 independently verified client testimonials. You can draw your own conclusions as to where those 3595 “testimonials” likely came from. Wherever they came from, they are not verified.
Therefore, they are as valuable as if getdivorcepapers.com’s staff and their moms wrote them.
How To Proceed in Light of Massive Online Divorce Fraud in California?
- Don’t hire any online divorce provider who does not display on its website the membership seal of the Online Divorce Association of America. Membership in the ODAA requires adherence to the ODAA’s Code of Ethics.
- Use the Online Divorce Lawyer Locator to find an online divorce lawyer in California. We’re adding tech-savvy competitive online divorce lawyers to our directory all the time. Keep in mind that all online divorce lawyers in our directory are independently owned and operated law firms.
Why Use An Online Divorce Lawyer California?
- No fraud – There are serious penalties imposed by the California Bar Association for ANY unethical behavior by lawyers. All fees must be clearly disclosed upfront. There can be no price fraud or advertising fraud of any kind – pursuant to strict Bar Association ethics rules.
- Online divorce lawyers in California are licensed by the state bar and well-educated in the law.
- California lawyers are required to take continuing legal education courses.
- Local lawyers in California know California law and local Superior Court Rules of Court as well as many policies of individual judges at your local Superior Court. They are also well known at your local Superior Court.
- The younger generation of California lawyers tends to be more competitive than lawyers have been in the past.
- California lawyers are now embracing and using more technology for the purposes of reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.
- California lawyers are now embracing various Virtual Law Office practices that use technology to reduce costs even further than can be done by divorce software alone.
- The California Bar Association has approved unbundled (also called Limited Scope representation) legal services in certain types of consumer law cases, such as uncontested divorce. This means that many online divorce lawyers will offer such unbundled document-review services – many in the $300-500 range – very competitive when compared to the online divorce mills which provide a far riskier and less valuable service.
- Online divorce lawyers provide a case evaluation to protect your economic and legal rights and will discuss case strategy with you before your case is filed.
- Online divorce lawyers use wicked-cool divorce software and other cloud-based support systems that save you money.
Thanks for reading. I hope this has helped. If an Online Divorce Lawyer in California makes sense to you.
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