How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce in Arizona
Cost of a Divorce in Arizona
If you are getting divorced in Arizona, you may be nervous about the Arizona divorce process. You may also be wondering how much does it cost to get a divorce in Arizona. In many cases, it is an easier process than you may expect.
In some cases, you will be the only active participant if your spouse does not file a response to your divorce petition. In other cases, you and your spouse may agree to the terms in your divorce case.
If you fall into either of these categories, you will not need to go to trial. This will save you a lot of time and money in your divorce
An Arizona divorce case that settled quickly will typically cost $2,500.00 to $3,000.00. These estimates include the following divorce expenses:
- Cost of paying an attorney to draft the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage;
- Divorce court filing fees;
- Process server fees;
- Cost of paying an attorney to draft your Marital Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree;
However, estimating the cost of a contested divorce becomes more complicated. There is no one simple answer to the question of how much a divorce costs if the spouses do not reach an agreement.
Divorce costs depend on a variety of factors. Every person’s situation may be different. Some people have short term marriages. Their assets and debts may be very simple to divide.
Other people may have long term marriages. These couples may have a lot of assets and debts incurred during their marriage. In addition, support for children’s material needs and the need for spousal maintenance may require consideration. These issues often include multiple court dates and a number of meetings between the parties to resolve.
Factors Involved in the Cost of a Divorce in Arizona
When a couple decides to go through the process of divorce, they must negotiate a variety of issues. They must decide the division of their assets and debts. They have to decide who will get the house. They will have to decide how much time the children will spend with each parent. They will need to resolve financial issues such as child support and alimony.
When spouses agree on all of these issues, the amount of work necessary to complete the divorce is relatively minimal. In some cases, the divorce creates strong emotion which can cause arguments and an unwillingness to compromise.
These high conflict cases require more time to resolve. That additional time can increase the amount you can expect to pay for your divorce.
Whenever possible, couples going through the divorce should try to find compromises that both parties can live with. Reasonable compromises will help keep divorce fees to a minimum. Although compromising on some issues can be difficult, it pays off in reduced legal fees.
Cost of a Contested High Net Worth Divorce
The most contentious are often those that involve a high net worth divorce in Arizona, disputes about children and those that may be contested by the other party.
These proceedings are often considered the worst case scenario for a divorce. They involve family businesses, income streams, and disputed child custody issues.
These divorce cases are often pursued aggressively with a variety of legal tactics to favor one party over the other. The legal expenses can be significant and may cost each of the parties $50,000 to $100,000 for the divorce.
However, the cost can be limited when high net worth couples choose to divorce amicably. The final bill will be closer to the lower side of the estimate. High net worth couples can reduce their divorce costs by reaching a fair agreement.
Mid-Range Divorces with Children and Significant Assets
When income and net worth are slightly below this level, couples will generally pay less for a divorce. A significant amount of legal work may still be required to discover and divide assets. In addition, the couple can agree on issues such as custody of children and payment of support.
In some cases, disputes arise that require greater legal attention. This leads to additional costs in a divorce. Couples with this level of income can expect to pay $25,000 to $50,000 to complete a divorce.
Of course, when the parties agree to compromise on these issues, the costs trend toward the lower end of the scale. Conversely, when conflict arises the costs for managing negotiations and legal details quickly increase fees.
Cost of Divorce for People with Children and Modest Income
Most people fall into the category of having a modest income, some accumulated assets, and one or more children to consider in the proceedings. Assets are likely to include homes, cars, vacation property, retirement accounts and college funds for children.
In these cases, standard practices of dividing assets can facilitate the divorce and help minimize costs. However, disputes can occur that drive up legal fees.
In general, divorce at this level of income will cost around $7,500 to $20,000. Even when income and net worth are modest, parties in the divorce can dig in their heels and refuse to compromise on financial or child custody issues, driving up the cost.
Uncontested Divorce with No Children and Few Assets
Couples that have been married for a short time, who have accumulated few assets and who have no children often pay the least for their divorce. In these situations, the divorce is uncontested and both parties settle their divorce.
Generally, these divorces carry fees as low as $3,500 to $7,000. If no issues are in dispute and the couple has no need for court hearings, fees can be under the $3,500 level.
Hourly Fees Charged by Divorce Attorneys in Arizona
If your case does not settle, your costs will vary depending upon how complicated your case may be. The more issues you and your spouse agree upon, the faster and more affordable the divorce will be.
Most Arizona divorce lawyers charge between $275.00 to $450.00 per hour. You can find divorce attorneys in Arizona that charge less than the range provided. The rate a lawyer may charge for their services is based on several factors.
You will pay a higher hourly rate for an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney who has a track record of winning will also charge more per hour. The number of people who already want to hire the attorney will also impact his or her hourly rate. Good lawyers charge more than less experienced lawyers.
You can find attorneys that charge less. However, you should be careful about hiring the cheapest attorney. Your financial future and the well being of your children will be materially impacted by what happens in your divorce. You should be wary of relying on a discount rate lawyer. There is likely a reason they charge less for their services.
The other advantage of hiring a higher priced attorney is he or she will have the legal answers at his or her fingertips. He or she will know that law that applies to your case. He or she will not have to charge you to do legal research to find the answers to your questions.
An inexperienced or unskilled discount divorce attorney will have to charge you hours to research legal issues, which costs you more.
If you do not reach an agreement with your spouse, you may consider mediating your divorce. A successful mediation will significantly decrease the overall cost of divorce. Most divorce mediations can be completed in two to four hours.
In situations where mediation is not successful, you and your divorce attorney will have to present your case to a judge at a trial. Ultimately, the cost of a divorce varies depending on the complexity of your case. An experienced Arizona divorce attorney should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of how much your divorce will cost.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about how much a divorce costs in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.