For many individuals preparing for a divorce, finances are a major concern—How much will this uncontested divorce cost me? Although cost is dependent on the circumstances and each divorce case is unique, an uncontested divorce is relatively less expensive in contrast to one that is contested.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree on all issues pertaining to the divorce– such as spousal maintenance, child custody, the division of assets, etc. These divorce cases are often relatively inexpensive, simple, and quick.
If you and your spouse are able to agree upon solutions to the major issues in your divorce matter, you may be able to get by paying just the minimum fees associated with getting a divorce.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost?
Contested or not, there will be filing fees due to the court. For example, in Maricopa County, two filing fees are required in every divorce case:
• Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – $349
• Response/Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – $274
Luckily, if your divorce is uncontested, you will likely only need to pay the two filing fees for the initial Petition and Response. For individuals unable to pay court filing fees, there is an option to request a waiver or deferral of the filing fee.
If you and your soon-to-be ex are in contact and they are willing to sign Acceptance of Service, you will be able to save on fees to a process server! If that is not the case, a process server typically charges about $50-$75 per service attempt.
If you and your spouse have minor children, you will each be required to complete a one-time Parenting Information Program, which is a 4-hour class that costs $50 or less and is available online.
The Cost of Hiring a Divorce Attorney
If you’re looking to retain an attorney to represent you, they will determine a retainer fee based on the facts discussed during your initial consultation. Retainer fees, as well as attorneys’ hourly rates, will vary between law firms and often between attorneys within a single law firm.
During an initial consultation with a divorce attorney, you’ll discuss the facts of your case to determine the next steps and overall goals for your legal matter. Those may include issues such as:
• The division of community assets or debts – who gets what?
• Spousal Maintenance: — is one party eligible to receive spousal maintenance? How much and for how long?
• Issues involving children – legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, etc.
• The level of contention between the parties – how many issues are you able to agree on? How many issues will be contested?
It is very important that you are honest and forthcoming with pertinent information while discussing your case with an attorney. Your honest communication will allow them to fully and accurately assess your legal rights, needs, and options, and it will greatly serve you through the end of your divorce.
If your divorce is truly uncontested, meaning that you and your spouse agree on all issues pertaining to the divorce, you’re in luck! It’s likely you’ll be able to keep your attorney’s fees to a minimum.
Disclaimer: Although your divorce attorney will quote you a retainer fee, and may give you a ballpark estimate for how much your divorce may cost in the end, it is only an estimate– they cannot give you an exact dollar amount or timeframe. There are many factors in a divorce that could have an impact on the ultimate cost involved with your case—some of which you or your attorney may or may not be able to control.
How to Save Money During Your Divorce
Come to as many agreements as possible with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Even if your divorce is only partially uncontested, the more you can agree and settle on various issues in your divorce, the less time-consuming and expensive your case will be in the long run!
Conserve resources by grouping your questions for your attorney.
Through the duration of your divorce, you will likely have many questions about your case or the divorce process. Your attorney is here to help you and we always want to be sure you have the answers you need.
It’s important to remember that your communication with your attorney will be billed hourly— luckily, there are ways you can make the most of the time you spend communicating with them.
TIP: If you have an important, although non-urgent question for your divorce attorney, start a list! At the end of your day or week, group those questions into one email to your attorney OR schedule a phone call for you to discuss them all at once. Clear, concise, and efficient communication will save both of you time and will save you money on your attorney’s fees.
Cost factors you can’t control:
The Opposing Party – As much as you may wish you could, you cannot control your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and what they might do during your divorce that prolongs the process. We can hope they will be responsive, timely, and agreeable, but they are ultimately responsible for how they handle their side of the divorce.
Opposing counsel – The attorney on the other side of your divorce can make a big difference in terms of how quickly and efficiently you are able to settle your case.
Court timelines – The speed with which your court hearings are scheduled depends largely on how many cases are in the court’s lineup. Arizona family courts are currently experiencing a backlog of cases as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the number of cases on their docket fluctuates with time.
TIP: The more you can settle on outside of court, the less you will have to depend on the court’s timeline for completing your divorce. This is another point in favor of you and your spouse coming to an agreement on as many issues as possible!
Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
If you’re getting ready to begin the divorce process and would like to learn more, contact the attorneys at OWENS & PERKINS by calling our office at 480.994.8824 or click here to schedule your FREE 30-minute legal consultation.