How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Arizona?
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Arizona
If you are getting divorced in Arizona, you may be nervous about the Arizona divorce process and wondering how much does a divorce cost in Arizona. In many cases, it is an easier process than you may believe. 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.
An Arizona divorce case that settled quickly or resolved because the opposing party fails to file his or her required response will typically cost approximately $2,500.00 to $3,000.00, which includes the court’s filing fee. These charges also cover the cost of an attorney drafting the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the cost of serving the opposing party with that initial Petition, and the cost of a lawyer drafting either a Marital Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree or Default Divorce Decree.
There is no one simple answer to the question how much does a divorce cost in Arizona. Costs related to a divorce depend on a variety of factors, and each individual’s situation may be different. Some people have marriages of short duration, and assets have been kept separate during that period. Other people may have been married for many years and have accumulated significant assets during the term of the 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.
Factors Involved in the Cost of a Divorce
When a couple decide to go through the process of divorce, they must negotiate a variety of issues, such as division of assets, payment of debts, living arrangements, financial support of children, alimony, educational expenses, healthcare and other matters. When the two parties in the marriage agree on many or all of these issues, the amount of legal work necessary to complete the process is limited. However, in some cases, the process brings forth a great deal of emotion between the divorcing parties, which can cause arguments and unwillingness to compromise.
These conditions cause a need for additional negotiations and legal actions between the parties, which add to the costs involved. Whenever possible, couples going through the divorce should try to find compromises that both parties can live with, to facilitate the proceedings and keep expenses to a minimum. Although this can sometimes be a difficult process, it can pay off in reduced legal fees.
High Net Worth Divorces That Are Contested
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 case because they involve family businesses, income streams, disputed child custody and possible pre-marital agreements. These divorce cases are often pursued aggressively, with a variety of legal tactics used to favor one party over the other. As a result, the legal expenses can be significant and may cost each of the parties $50,000 to $100,000 for the divorce. However, when high net worth couples choose to divorce amicably, costs can be limited and the final bill will be closer to the lower side of the estimate. If the two parties can come to some equitable agreement in dividing assets, they can benefit themselves financially by reducing legal costs.
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 will have to come to an agreement about the custody of children, as well as the payments necessary for their support. In some cases, disputes arise that require greater legal attention, which leads to additional costs. Couples with this level of income can expect to pay $25,000 to $50,000 to complete a divorce proceeding.
Of course, when the parties agree to compromise on these issues, the costs trend toward the lower end of the scale. Conversely, when severe wrangling arises, costs for managing the negotiations and legal details can quickly increase fees. Modest Income with Children and Some Assets 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 proceedings to help minimize the cost of the divorce.
However, disputes can occur that drive up legal costs. 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 about financial or child custody issues, driving up the cost.
Uncontested Divorces 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 what is considered the best scenario case for legal proceedings. In these situations, the divorce is uncontested and both parties are agreeable to the terms. In many cases, there are few assets to distribute, which makes disputes less likely. The couple may have no children, or only one child, so that financial and custody arrangements are made easier. 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 or a live trial, fees can be under the $3,500 level.
Staying Focused Helps Reduce Costs and Frustration
Individuals who are involved in a divorce should always keep their end goals in mind as they move through the various steps of the proceeding. The Divorce Decree and Joint Parenting Plan are two documents that have lasting effects on individuals’ lives. Both are binding court documents, the terms of which are legally enforceable. You should always remain mindful that your interests have been properly protected throughout the Arizona divorce process. A good divorce attorney should have the knowledge and experience necessary to allow you to put your emotional and financial well-being in his or her hands during the divorce process, without reservation.
Like any professional, you should expect your divorce lawyer to respect your time and privacy, providing the legal advice you need at a fair price and providing you with important information in a timely manner. Each financial and family situation requires specific handling to provide the best outcome for the parties involved. Your Mesa Arizona divorce lawyers can provide careful consideration of these factors to ensure a successful resolution of your divorce case.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in AZ | Contested Cases
If your case does not settle, your costs for a divorce in Arizona will vary depending upon your choice of legal representation, as well as how complicated your case may be. The more issues you and your spouse agree upon, the faster and more affordable the divorce process will be. To get started, you may initiate the divorce by contacting your Arizona divorce attorney and request that he or she files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Court.
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 has to be based on his or her years of experience, their skill and reputation for delivering results, and how many clients are trying to retain a particular lawyer because of their expertise and experience.
You can find attorneys that charge less, but you should be very careful about making such a decision. Your financial future and the well being of your children will be materially impacted by what happens in your divorce case. You should, therefore, be very wary of relying upon a discount rate lawyer because there is likely reason they have to charge less for their services.
The other advantage of hiring a higher priced attorney who has the skills and reputation you need is because that attorney will have the legal answers at his or her fingertips and likely be able to cite you to specific statutory and case law that supports your case. An inexperienced or unskilled discount divorce attorney will have to charge you hours to research legal issues, which costs you more.
If you are not able to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the terms of your divorce, you may also use an experienced Arizona family law attorney as a mediator. Successful mediation of your divorce case will significantly decrease the overall cost of divorce. Most 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 an estimate of how much your divorce will cost in Arizona before you decide whether to hire him or her.
If you need to discuss your Arizona divorce and receive an estimate of how much your Arizona divorce case may cost, contact the Arizona divorce and family law attorneys at Hildebrand Law. Call our experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona divorce attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC at (480)305-8300 if you have questions about the financial cost of a divorce in Arizona.