Rob McKenna (R)
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)- The Washington state attorney general's office has blocked an Internet-based company from providing divorce services in the Evergreen State.
Attorney General Rob McKenna's office claims that Divorce Online was offering paralegal services that were not overseen by a state-licensed attorney, as required by Washington law.
The attorney general's office began investigating the company after receiving a bevy of complaints from dissatisfied customers who said they did not receive promised services and refunds were difficult to obtain.
The Delaware-based firm, which charged $249 to help customers fill out forms, agreed Wednesday to stop offering services in Washington. The firm has also agreed to provide refunds to customers who complained to the attorney general's office.
The agreement, reached in Thurston County Superior Court, does not include a finding or admission of wrongdoing.
The company's Web site claimed to "help you prepare your Washington State divorce forms according to your particular set of circumstances and in a format accepted by Washington Courts."
But while companies can sell legal forms in Washington, only licensed attorneys can select, draft or complete forms for others, the AG's office said.
"Couples trying to undo their 'I dos' could find the process as irksome as an irreconcilable relationship if they don't get information from a qualified source," said Senior Counsel Paula Selis, who specializes in Internet-related cases for the AG's office.
From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at firstname.lastname@example.org.