On the San Antonio law firm’s website, breaking up is cheap

A strange thing has happened in my social life during the past two difficult years of the pandemic: three couples I know have divorced.

All of them have children the same age as my children. All our children went to the same primary school. The three announcements took me by surprise as I had known the couples for years and they all seemed happy. (Perhaps this shows how good I am at reading social situations.)

Anyway, that’s not even the weirdest part.

The weirdest part is this: they all get along great now that they’re divorced. They show up at the same parties; they express great affection and even love for each other. Usually they even say that they get along better after the divorce as friends than as married couples. It’s wild! It seems abnormal but it is really great and better for everyone because they have children and share many friends.

What does this have to do with money and business, you ask? I will tell you.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, San Antonio-based family law attorney Lauren Smyth of Carrington Smyth PLLC and her husband, Jeremy Smyth, started a “legal tech” firm called Uncontested. .com to address this situation: couples who have no intention of fighting over children or money and just want a quick and affordable way to file for divorce. None of the three divorced couples in my life have used Uncontested.com, but all agreed that it was about right for them.

Here’s how it works: Part of a divorcing couple goes to Uncontested.com and answers a series of in-depth personal and financial questions, enough to provide all the data needed to prepare the divorce paperwork. With Carrington Smyth PLLC as the law firm and Lauren Smyth as the solicitor, technically the client is the person who completed the online questionnaire. The other person in the couple must also sign the agreement.


Usually the going rate for a completely straightforward divorce where all parties agree on everything is $2,500 to $3,500. Uncontested.com offers a simple service, just the documents for $500, plus an additional $500 for the legal work of filing the divorce, for an overall cost of $1,000. This is an inexpensive option for people who don’t want to fight over anything.

“We want to reward clients who reach an agreement with a cheaper option, previously unavailable, by offering them the limited legal services they need to settle their legal affairs,” says Jeremy.

About 12% of users choose the “documents only” option, while the vast majority opt for the full documents, filing and final hearing service.

Kate McConnico is a Houston-based attorney certified in family law. Her specialty is representing a party in complex and contested divorces. She says her cases often cost between $20,000 and $60,000 to solve. Even contested cases without extraordinary assets cost $7,000 to $14,000. I mention this just to note that usually the legal costs to obtain a divorce are very high.

As McConnico says of his clients, “The first thing they want in life is their lawyer. I tell my clients all the time, “You have to get rid of me, and I’ll tell you how to do it.”

I was curious if McConnico thought $1000 Uncontested.com made sense. She went through the online questionnaire and was in total agreement.

“It fits a niche for people who don’t have enough money for in-person litigation but aren’t eligible for pro bono,” McConnico said. “For tech-savvy people, this will fill a need.”

She estimated that 30% of divorces are filed uncontested in Texas, suggesting a very large market.

Expansion plans

Carrington Smyth PLLC is based in San Antonio. To date, 74% of its customers are from the area, although Uncontested.com works in every county in Texas. A few counties in Texas require physical appearances, which means clients will need to use the $500 “documents only” service.

Jeremy told me that Uncontested.com has ambitions to expand to both the UK (where it’s from and where Lauren is already licensed) and other states as early as next year. Family law – and the requirements for an online divorce document template – vary by state and country. But a coalition of 35 states will synchronize their statutes in 2023, making a “law-tech” solution potentially easier to scale, using a template.

I went through the website template and found that it took less than 10 minutes to get the process started. I didn’t push the button to hire Uncontested.com for the $500 “docs only” or $1,000 “full service” because I would hate to accidentally divorce during my research. It would be a shock!

Divorce can be one of life’s most financially traumatic events. Committing to an uncontested divorce, with a very low cost solution like Uncontested.com, may be the smartest financial choice to make in an otherwise difficult situation.

One final thought: A newly divorced friend of mine had another idea for the next big financial technology to help with divorce: the “divorce registry.” It’s like a wedding registry, but friends can buy pre-selected gifts for the divorcee who needs new household items.

This amazing business idea is free, folks. Just remember where you heard it first.

Michael Taylor is a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, author of “The Financial Rules for New College Graduates” and host of the “No Hill For A Climber” podcast. [email protected] | twitter.com/michael_taylor