How much will you spend on a lawyer-handled Arizona divorce? According to a Lawyers.com survey, total costs for an Arizona divorce range from $4,000 to $28,000, with the average being $13,000. Let’s take a closer look at lawyer fees and other expenses an Arizona divorce may include.
Cost Of A Divorce Attorney In AZ
The survey says that an Arizona divorce lawyer on average charges $250 per hour. This, combined with the rates of paralegals and other law firm services, will total $10,300 in a typical Arizona divorce.
Some attorneys charge more or less than this average. Just because a lawyer has a lower hourly rate doesn’t mean they’re the best choice. It could mean, for instance, that they have much less experience in handling divorce cases, or that they do not have the right training to expertly advise you on your financial outlook.
Your money may be better spent with an attorney who specializes in family law and has a successful track record in this area, instead of a general practitioner who may be cheaper but is also less proficient in divorce cases.
Other Expenses In An Arizona Divorce
Attorneys’ fees make up most divorce expenses, but you have to be ready for other costs that will accumulate throughout the case:
- Court filing fees. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars to file paperwork with the court for initial and responsive pleadings. In Maricopa County, for example, initiating a divorce requires you to file a “Petition For Dissolution of Marriage” with a $349 filing fee. If you’re the one who has to respond to your spouse’s divorce petition, filing your response costs $274. Click here to see the full list of Maricopa County court filing fees.
- Fees of third-party experts. You may need to support your case with the testimonies of expert witnesses. These can include family counselors, child therapists, doctors, financial analysts, and other professionals. Fees vary widely across different fields.
- Mediation fees. If you and your spouse hire an independent mediator, you may split the cost. Some estimates say that Arizona divorce mediation costs $250 to 350 per hour on average.
- Parent Program. If you have children, Arizona courts will likely require you to take a Parent Information Program Class. It costs $50 per parent.
- Updating your legal information. After your divorce, you may need to change your name on your driver’s license, Social Security card, passport, bank account, and the like. Check with each specific agency or department for applicable fees.
When Will Your AZ Divorce Be More Expensive?
The more complicated the divorce, the longer it will take and the more costly it will become. Lawyers’ hourly rates stack up, more court fees may be required, and more consultants may be needed. These particular family issues may significantly increase your divorce expenses, according to the Lawyers.com survey:
- Child custody and/or child support. These matters can make a divorce nearly 50 percent more expensive. An Arizona divorce involving children costs an average of $19,500.
- Alimony disputes. When a couple cannot agree on spousal maintenance, the average Arizona divorce cost goes up to $18,000.
- Property division issues. When the distribution of property becomes especially complicated, the total divorce cost may reach $18,300 on average.
- Failing to settle. Arriving at a divorce settlement outside the court is often more cost-efficient than going to a trial. In all the divorce scenarios examined in the survey, settling is generally cheaper than litigation by several thousand dollars. For instance, a divorce involving child custody may cost only $16,400 when settled but $22,900 when litigated. A divorce with alimony issues may cost only $13,900 when settled but doubles to $27,100 when litigated.
Do you have concerns about how your divorce will proceed in Arizona? Talk to one of our attorneys at Goldman Law by calling (602) 698-5520. We can provide you with case-specific guidance on making your divorce as smooth and as cost-efficient as possible.