To file for divorce in Maricopa County you simply need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage which costs $349. If you are on the receiving end of the divorce petition it will cost you $274 to file a response. However, in reality the cost of a divorce in Maricopa County is usually much higher. Each divorce case is unique due to factors such as its duration, it’s complexity and how contested it is.
It’s more helpful to know the different kind of fees that you should prepare for when filing for divorce.
Maricopa County Court Fees For Divorce (2020)
Each Arizona county has its own schedule of court fees which change from time to time. As of June 2020, these are the primary divorce papers you must file and their corresponding family court fees in Maricopa County:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – This is the main document when filing for divorce. There are two versions of the form: With Children and Without Children. Both have the same filing fee: $349.
- Response/Answer to Dissolution – If you are the one who has been served the divorce petition, you must file your response with the same court. The filing fee is $274.
There are other documents that you may have to file for related matters such as child custody and parenting time. These require their own filing fees. You can find a chart of Maricopa County’s filing fees here.
Lawyer Fees, Mediation Bills, And Other Costs
It is common for divorcing couples to hire an attorney, especially if there are disputed issues. Most divorce lawyers generally bill by the hour but require a retainer fee which is an initial upfront payment. The hourly rate is then billed against this retainer. Typically, if the divorce case goes through to litigation, the lawyer will charge for the additional hours of work.
An alternative to litigation is mediation. It is an out-of-court process that seeks to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral third-party professional called a mediator. Mediators in Arizona either bill by the hour or charge a flat fee. Mediation is typically less expensive than divorce… but may still cost thousands of dollars depending on the mediator’s rates and the length of mediation and the complexity of the divorce.
Aside from these costs, you must also anticipate other divorce expenses such as:
- Service fee – “Service” is the process of legally notifying your spouse that you have filed for divorce. There are various ways to properly serve divorce papers, and they may entail some costs.
- Expert fees – You might need to enlist professionals to give statements supporting your case or to advise you on related issues such as assets and taxes.
- Parent Information Program Class – may be required for parents with children ($50 per parent)
- Legal document preparation – You may choose to entrust this to a certified legal document preparer (CLDP).
- Postage, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses.
Is It Cheaper To Get An Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one where there are no unresolved disputes and both spouses arrive at a divorce agreement, instead of having the judge decide. It is generally smoother and faster than a contested divorce, and thus involves less filing costs and fewer billed hours by lawyers.
Unfortunately, a large amount of divorce cases, are contested. If you are going through a contested divorce, you and your spouse may still have a chance to minimize expenses, particularly if you can maintain civil and reasonable discussions with each other. Don’t hesitate, though, to approach an experienced divorce attorney to protect your rights and interests your divorce
If you have other questions or concerns regarding your divorce proceedings in Arizona, the attorneys at Goldman Law are ready to help. Call us today at (602) 698-5520.