Need money to get out of a bad situation? Consider crowdfunding your divorce! Here you will get the lowdown on how you can get strangers to help pay your legal fees!
It’s Happening Now
Stacey Schnaitman raised $2,193 out of her $3,000 goal on the site GoFundMe. The money is not for a new business venture or bucket-list dream trip. Instead, Stacey raised the money through crowdfunding to pay the lawyer to divorce her husband.
Stacey claims her husband is being prosecuted for child endangerment and aggravated assault. She wants a divorce with full custody of their four children and believes crowdfunding can help her fund the legal process.
The Geneva, Illinois woman is part of a growing trend of people who are using crowdfunding to pay for their divorce. As she told the Patch “It would take me forever to save that money up.”
Your Divorce Will Not Be Cheap
Stacey’s situation is not surprising, given the rising cost of divorces. Forbes estimates the cost of the average contested divorce around $15,000 to $30,000. The vast majority of this money goes to legal fees.
Reminds me of Shakespeare’s oft-repeated quote, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Crowdfunding can prevent this violence.
It is why we explore how to use crowdfunding to pay for your divorce, along with best practices for promoting your divorce campaign.
Ready to Reveal?
Before we dive into crowdfunding, a word of caution. To run a successful campaign, you need to reveal a side of your divorce that you would normally keep private. This is especially true if you have children.
As we all know, even preschoolers are jumping onto electrical devices with astounding speed. They know how to search the internet, and given the chance, can probably find your campaign online. You don’t want to hurt your kids by crowdfunding your divorce!
Appropriately, the courts want children kept away from the ugly details in a divorce case. The Judge will not look favorably upon your fundraising campaign if your kids get their prying eyes on it.
At Guyvorce, we know a divorce can be a painful, contentious experience. Crowdfunding your divorce can bring a lot of that pain and distress to light.
Be aware of this before you start the campaign.
Basics for Crowdfunding Your Divorce
1. Choose the Right Crowdfunding Platform
Not all crowdfunding sites allow users to crowdfund their divorce. Investigate all the rules and restrictions for each site before making your final decision.
Here are a few popular platforms:
PlumFund has their own Divorce Registry for those looking to crowdfund their divorce. Plumfund is free for set-up, but they do charge processing fees for PayPal and WePay.
This site has experienced crowdfunding leadership. The couple that started PlumFund also started HoneyFund, an online wedding registry.
PlumFund reports racking up over 114 divorce registries since launching the site in March.
Funded Justice has a section dedicated to crowdfunding divorces. This site is dedicated to helping people raise the funds for any legal issue they might have including divorce, civil suits, criminal actions, and injustices like discrimination or wrongful termination.
GoFundMe– We discussed GoFundMe earlier. They do not have a dedicated divorce section, but do permit people to raise funds to pay for their divorce.
Indiegogo does not have a dedicated divorce section, but they will allow you to use the platform for crowdfunding your divorce.
2. Tell a Compelling Story
People won’t just hand you money to get divorced. They want to know why you need the money. No one is interested in a run-of-the-mill divorce story. Meh!
To succeed in crowdfunding your divorce, you have to grab attention and raise emotions by sharing the urgency of your situation.
Stacey Schnaitman’s story is a perfect example. She needs the cash to get her kids away from an abusive situation, and she needs it now!
To get folks to open their wallet, you will need to open up the personal details of your struggle. Be prepared to tell strangers the intimate and painful details of your private life.
Scott Tobin used Funded Justice for his campaign Stop the Madness. Scott asked for funding to help him recover financially from a long and expensive custody battle he fought to get his kids out of an unhealthy situation. He was able to save his kids, but the battle drained his savings and retirement. His story galvanized people to help him provide a stable home for his two daughters.
3. Don’t Count on Crowdfunding
The overwhelming number of crowdfunded divorce campaigns do not succeed. This is not surprising. Statistics from crowdfunding site GoFundMe showed the average amount raised for personal causes averaged $1,126. A far cry from the average $15,000 in legal fees.
Crowdfunding can help your cause, but it does not necessarily mean you can rely solely upon your campaign to fund your divorce.
4. Market Your Story
How do you create a quality marketing campaign among this swirl of emotions?
Write a sales page that sticks to the facts. Be positive! Telling people your ex-wife is a “lying (fill-in-the-blank)” will not help you raise funds. People want their money to go for good causes. Tell potential donors how the funding helps you get your life back on track.
Tell potential donors how the funding helps you get your life back on track.
Once your crowdfunding page is ready, reach out to your friends, family, and contacts to start raising funds for your campaign.
Strangers won’t give money when they feel like the only donor. The more you can get your warm market (family and friends) to help kick-start your campaign, the more you will get from the crowdfunding platforms’ donors.
Connect with your existing communities online and offline to boost the results of your campaigns. Just like marketing a business, the more people you tell about the campaign, the better.
5. Tell People How They Are Helping
We mentioned this briefly above, but it is worth emphasizing this point. Let donors know how you will use their money.
If someone gives you a $100 for your divorce, they want to know you will not have a meltdown and blow it at the track. Instead, tell them how you will use the money to pay for your legal defense team or to deal with moving costs.
Make sure you follow through on this commitment. If donors find out you lied to them, it could have unexpected consequences. Fraud, anyone?
6. Be Ready to Do the Work
I once ran a crowdfunding campaign for a movie producer. He wanted to raise $25,000 from crowdfunding without contacting his warm market. He just assumed a few posts on social media would be enough to generate the money he needed.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Prepare to spend significant time marketing your campaign. The more time you spend on the campaign, the more chances you have to raise donations.
At the same time, do not expect your entire legal tab to be paid in a week.
Most people have trouble functioning at their best while going through a divorce. Adding the stress of a crowdfunding campaign can be too much!
Additionally, divorce is a legal proceeding. Publicizing details of your case might hurt your legal standing. Ask your attorney to review your crowdfunding page before going live to avoid shooting yourself in the foot!
Crowdfunding your divorce can be done in an honest and ethical way, but does have some pros and cons. Be sure to look at all the angles before launching your campaign.
Does crowdfunding seem like an option for funding your divorce? Or too much risk? Let us know what you think in the comments below!