When you go through a divorce, your most pressing concern may be, How can I get child custody issues addressed?
This is understandable.
While you can eventually recover finances disrupted by your divorce, nothing can replace your relationship with your children. You know that for the best chance at getting custody, you’ll need to hire a skilled family attorney. But how much does a custody lawyer cost?
In this article, we’ll share cost considerations for your Texas child custody case. To learn more about how The Larson Law Office can assist you with your custody goals, contact our Texas child custody attorneys.
How Much Does a Child Custody Case Cost in Texas?
Every child custody case is different, meaning that it’s difficult to predict exactly how much your case will cost. However, you can get a ballpark figure by considering the complexity of your custody challenge. The following factors can influence the cost of your case.
Is the Other Parent Challenging Child Custody?
If the other parent does not challenge your desire for custody, we can typically resolve the case quickly. Reaching a settlement rather than taking your case to trial can save you significant money. An amicable settlement provides the least stressful, most affordable way to obtain custody.
How Long Will Your Custody Case Take?
Your case will take longer if it is contentious and requires many court appearances. Court backlogs can also contribute to delays. The longer your case draws out, the more expensive it becomes. Resolving your child custody case through a settlement early in the process can save you a great deal of money. However, if a settlement does not meet your needs, you may feel it’s worth it to take your case to trial.
Do We Need to Investigate the Other Parent?
If your ex conducts themselves in a way that endangers your child, you can provide this evidence to the court in your custody hearing. Proving your ex’s moral failings or criminal behavior often requires our law firm to hire investigators. While investigators can be expensive, keeping your child safe and gathering evidence that may help you gain custody is worth it.
Do We Need to Hire Expert Witnesses?
We can use various expert witnesses to help build your case for custody. For instance, you can request to have your ex evaluated by a medical or mental health professional to prove that they shouldn’t have custody. The court has the discretion to order or deny the mental health evaluation. The court will also order an evaluation of your mental health.
Where Does the Other Parent and the Child Live?
A Texas court can hear your child custody case if the child lived in Texas for at least six months before the custody case was filed. Also, the child or a parent must live in Texas at the time you file the custody case. These laws come from the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which applies in child custody cases where parents live in more than one state.
If you have a child custody order from another state, but a Texas court has jurisdiction according to the above criteria, the Texas court may hear your request to modify child custody.
Regardless of whether Texas has jurisdiction over your case, if your child is in danger, a Texas court can hear your case under temporary emergency jurisdiction. The court that hears your case has a huge impact on your budget because traveling to another state for a custody hearing usually requires expensive transportation and hotel costs.
How Much Do Child Custody Lawyers Cost?
How much does a child custody lawyer cost in Texas? For custody cases, most attorneys bill by the hour. Your attorney’s experience also factors into their rate. While inexperienced attorneys may charge a lower rate, it may take them longer to accomplish some of the same tasks as a more experienced attorney.
You’ll also want to consider who you want to represent you. When custody of your children is on the line, you probably don’t want to risk losing custody due to an inexperienced attorney. When you have a consultation with a family attorney, you should ask about their rate and how much they require as a retainer.
All these factors combined result in a child custody case usually costing between under $10,000 to $40,000, according to this Law for Families article. We can’t give a definitive answer to the cost of a child custody lawyer as it depends on a variety of factors.
However, expect the child custody lawyer cost for your case to be near the lower end of this range if you and your ex quickly settle child custody issues. Be prepared to pay near the higher end if your case goes to trial. Some child custody fights become so difficult that legal fees climb into six figures, but this is unusual.
Who Pays Attorney Fees?
Who pays attorney fees in child custody cases? Texas law usually requires each party to pay for their own attorney fees, but in some extreme cases, you can request that the court order that your ex pays your custody lawyer’s cost at the end of a final trial.
You should not count on that exception and should expect to pay your attorney fees. The court may also appoint an amicus attorney to represent the interests of the children, and you and your ex will share the cost for that attorney.
Contact an Experienced Family Lawyer for Your Custody Case
If you are facing a custody dispute, you don’t need to handle negotiations on your own. Time with your children is too important, so you must hire a skilled family attorney. At The Larson Law Office, we provide personalized service and give you honest legal advice. We educate you, empower you, and work to find creative legal solutions that will prioritize your relationship with your children.