Getting a divorce isn’t only an emotional rollercoaster, but also expensive, especially if you aren’t prepared and you don’t examine what options you have. If you both agree on divorcing, the division of property, and your children’s care, comprising of custody, visitation rights, and child support, then you’re able to file for an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are more straightforward and less expensive than contested divorces, when the parties can’t come to an agreement on one or more matters.
If you are choosing to divorce, you need to understand how the divorce process works, what options you have, the time it takes for the legal proceedings to come to an end, and how much its going to cost.
What are Uncontested Divorces?
Uncontested divorces are divorce decrees that neither spouse is fighting. When each party in a married couple agrees to divorce, filing for an uncontested divorce could save time and money throughout efficient court procedures. The couple needs to:
- Not have any financial concerns (like alimony or child support)
- Both agree to the divorce (if one party doesn’t show up for the divorce proceedings it will be taken as an agreement to the divorce)
Although more complex divorces might fall outside these standards in a given state; when each side of the relationship are versed and agree to the larger issues in a lot of divorces (like child custody, child support, property division, and alimony), a straight forward, an agreeable divorce could save significant amounts of time and money.
Not Having an Attorney
To file for an uncontested divorce by yourself, you do have options. First, you both can submit the necessary paperwork with the local family court near you. The court will provide you with the required forms, like the petition for divorce and a parenting plan, that details the care for the children. Following you filing your paperwork and waiting for the required phase mandated by the laws in your state, you will appear in front of a judge to finalize the divorce. Be sure you understand your state laws when finishing your documents for divorce, like alimony, child support and property division.
There is also the option to file for your uncontested divorce using online services. Typically, these services will guide you through the process of finishing and filing the necessary paperwork for divorce required by your state. Verify your state laws to substantiate that filing for divorce online is allowed.
Filing for your uncontested divorce on your own, without the help of an attorney, is the most inexpensive way to go. You will have roughly a $300 fee to file your paperwork, whether you file on your own or with the assistance of an online service. If you do use an online service to aid you, costs can range between $150 to $1,500 depending on the service you use and your particular situation, as well as the filing fee.
When You Have an Attorney
If you choose to hire an attorney assist you, the attorney will support you and your wants during the divorce process. Hiring one can be to your benefit when you have a complex divorce, or if you and your soon to be ex can’t agree on particular issues.
An attorney is only able to represent one spouse in a divorce; you can’t share an attorney with your soon to be ex spouse. Your attorney will assist you in negotiating the aspects of your divorce, like the distribution of property, the children or child custody, and any debt settlements. After your attorney files all of the necessary paperwork and the court date is scheduled, the attorney will go with you to court and then presents your case to the judge for final resolution.
When you decide to hire an attorney for your uncontested divorce, it is going to be less costly than a contested divorce would be. On the other hand, the more complicated your case is, or if your case is a contested one, as a result, the attorney fees will go up.
Usually, you will need to pay a divorce attorney a down payment or what is known as a retainer, of around $2,500 – $5,000. The attorney will charge you with the retainer until there is no money left. Once the money runs out, you might have to add an additional retainer, or the attorney might charge you by the hour. Hourly attorney fees can average anywhere between $150 to $400 each hour.
Using the Collaboration Process
The third option that is becoming popular lately is collaborative divorce. This kind of divorce is a combination of mediation and hiring an attorney, in which both spouses work collaboratively together to find solutions to their issues.
In collaborative divorces, each spouse will have an attorney that is knowledgeable in this process. Each party agrees to find resolutions to their issues collectively. When the parties cannot agree on particular issues, they can then go to court to resolve any open issues. The price range for a collaborative divorce can begin around $10,000, depending on how complex your case is.
There are several ways to get a divorce, and each come with different costs. Make sure to confirm with your state law to understand what options you have. If you think that you and your spouse can be agreeable on critical issues, an uncontested divorce is possibly the best solution for everyone involved.
Uncontested Divorce Benefits
One principle benefit of this kind of divorce is the savings of the divorce costs. While attorney representation is usually suggested in any type of divorce, the straightforward procedure includes decreased court costs, as well as decreased attorney’s fees.
Additionally, uncontested divorce enables a lot of couples to get their divorce granted faster than in a contested one. With less proceedings and less legal squabbling, it enables couples to more quickly get on with their lives.
Even though divorce of any kind occasionally involves some conflict, advancing with an uncontested divorce can decrease the amount of conflict among the parting spouses by offering less chances for conflict to arise. With less demands for information going back and forth, and decreased proceedings to find resolutions to disputed parts of the divorce, conflicts among the soon to be ex-spouses can be minimized.
Other than filing under seal (which is challenging), information that is a part of divorce proceedings becomes public record. Meaning that not only personal details one party alleges against the other, as well as financial and other private details become matters open to the public. However, in divorces in which are not contested by either party, there’s just less details filed with the court to be available to the public. This enables spouses that want to get divorced to decrease the amount of their private details made public.
*The point of this post is only for information. Do not take the above content as legal advice.
Kiesewetter, Jennifer. “The Average Cost of an Uncontested Divorce.” Legalzoom.com, info.legalzoom.com/article/average-cost-uncontested-divorce.
Choose the Right Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in Arizona
Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring an uncontested divorce attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.