Arizona Divorce Process FAQ

1. What does it mean that Arizona is a “no fault divorce” state? In Arizona, a marriage can be dissolved even if only one person wants the divorce.  “No fault” divorce means that a party does not have to prove that the other person caused the divorce.  The only type of misconduct that is relevant to a divorce action is misconduct that impacts children, if the parties have children, or financial misconduct.

2.     What is the average cost of a divorce in Arizona? The cost of a divorce varies based on the method one uses to get a divorce.  There are filing fees regardless of the method used ($321.00 for the person who files the divorce and $256.00 for the person who responds).  A heavily litigated divorce could cost over $50,000.00, plus expert fees.  A mediated divorce could cost as little as a $1,000.00, plus filing fees.  The reason mediation is so much less expensive is the parties generally jointly hire only one professional (the mediator), and they efficiently work together toward a full agreement.  There are no court appearances, no motions and letters and the process is completed quickly.

3.     Do I have to testify in Court? If you are unable to reach an agreement, you probably will have to testify in Court.  The Judge will listen to all of the evidence and make decisions.

4.     What issues are decided in a divorce? The Court will decide the custody and parental access of minor children, child support, spousal maintenance (if requested), division of property, division of debts and division of attorney’s fees and costs.

5.     If I use divorce mediation, is that binding? Agreements you reach in mediation are binding when signed by the parties.  If you would like, the mediator can even complete and file all of the documents for you, and then the Court will just sign your decree and mail it back to you.  While the Court has the final say about the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, Courts almost always sign appropriately submitted Decrees.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona(at)sglawaz.com.  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC

Scottsdale Mediation
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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