Short Answer: It depends. If you want to divorce your spouse, you probably have many things on your mind.
You want to hire a lawyer to help your divorce go smoothly, but you are worried about expensive legal fees.
So how much does a divorce cost in Texas? Each divorce case shares some issues in common.
However, it is important to keep in mind that just as every divorce case is different, the ultimate cost of a divorce lawyer in Houston will vary case by case as well.
The amount in legal fees that a divorce will ultimately cost differs with each case because each divorce has unique elements and issues that need to be handled and these issues affect the number of attorney hours that are required to bring the case to a conclusion.
Average Cost of Divorce in Texas
How much it costs for a divorce in Texas varies depending on whether or not you hire a lawyer.
Getting a Divorce Without Hiring a Lawyer Cost
You can file your divorce petition, fill out your paperwork, and attend divorce hearings without a lawyer representing you.
If you choose the DIY option, you will only need to pay filing fees and other court fees. This usually adds up to a few hundred dollars.
While getting a divorce without hiring a lawyer seems less expensive, it can cost you in the long run.
You must correctly complete all divorce paperwork and meet all filing deadlines. Missing filing deadlines can, in some situations, result in a default judgment in favor of your spouse.
In addition, you and your spouse may disagree on child custody arrangements or asset division.
A divorce lawyer can help you negotiate a more agreeable settlement or dispute your spouse’s proposed divorce terms in court. It is extremely difficult to argue a case without legal knowledge. Having a lawyer will give you an advantage.
Hiring a Lawyer Cost
The cost of a divorce can go up or down depending on a number of factors, including the level of conflict in the divorce, how many contested issues there are, how much courtroom time is involved, how quickly and easily agreements are reached, and whether there are children involved.
Most people hire a divorce lawyer for full-scope representation, meaning the lawyer handles every aspect of the entire case.
However, it is also possible to hire a lawyer for only certain aspects of your case. For example, you can hire a lawyer to review a settlement agreement that your spouse has presented to you.
Disputes and Trial Can Raise the Cost of Your Divorce
Most divorce lawyers charge by the hour, so the total cost of your divorce is determined by the lawyer’s rate and the amount of time the lawyer must spend on your case. Cases with more contested issues usually require a divorce attorney to devote more time to the matter.
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will have to spend significant time preparing for trial. This can raise the cost of your divorce. The cost of a divorce with one contested issue can more than double when the issue must be resolved at trial instead of through a settlement.
Factors That Most Affect the Cost of Divorce in Texas
How much does a divorce cost in Texas? In addition to whether you must go to trial, there are several factors that can significantly impact the cost of your divorce.
Fault or No-Fault
Certain types of fault divorce cases, such as a divorce on the grounds of adultery, tend to cost more. Proving adultery, cruelty, or other fault grounds can affect a final divorce settlement, so allegations of fault are relevant to many divorce cases. If you are seeking a divorce on fault grounds, you must prove that your spouse is at fault by presenting evidence to the judge.
Your lawyer will have to spend more time gathering and preparing to present this evidence, often resulting in a higher total cost. How much it costs to get a divorce in Texas may depend on the grounds for your divorce.
In Texas, certain circumstances must be present for a court to award alimony payments to one spouse in a divorce. The spouse requesting alimony may have to prove that they are unable to support themselves without alimony due to a physical or mental disability or because they are the custodial parent of a child with a mental or physical disability.
To prove eligibility for alimony, the requesting spouse must present convincing evidence to a judge. This requires an attorney to spend time gathering evidence such as medical records, expert testimony, etc.
Texas courts tend to favor shared custody arrangements unless circumstances make this arrangement unreasonable. A court may deny custody rights to a parent if there is abuse or neglect. If you do not want to share custody with your spouse, you will likely need to present proof that your former spouse is unfit.
Similarly, if your spouse wants to deny you custody, you must present evidence to discredit your spouse’s claim that you are an unfit parent. An attorney must spend time collecting evidence to support your claim in court. Disagreements over child custody may need to be resolved with a trial and can make your Texas divorce more expensive.
Division of Assets
The more assets a couple has, the more likely there are to be issues when it comes time to divide them during a divorce. Each asset, from bank accounts, businesses, or homes owned by either spouse presents the opportunity for a disagreement about who gets what.
These disagreements require time-consuming negotiations and sometimes a trial.
Additional Factors That Affect the Cost of Divorce
There are many other factors and circumstances that determine how much obtaining a Texas divorce will cost, including:
Are witnesses going to be necessary and for what issues will they be required?
Is the case complex or complicated?
Issues that affect the complexity of the case include the number of assets, how the assets are held, the liquidity of the assets, the availability of the assets and whether the assets are easily discoverable or are hidden.
Other factors that may add to the complexity of a case may involve child custody and visitation issues.
Will a temporary orders hearing be necessary or will an agreement be reached on temporary orders?
Contested or Uncontested Case
Contested an uncontested divorces usually take different amounts of time. Are the parties are in agreement on how marital property will be divided and how child support, child custody and visitation will be handled? Or will these issues need to be resolved by negotiation, mediation or perhaps ultimately resolved by the Court in a trial?
Will written discovery, such as interrogatories and requests for production, be necessary to uncover facts about issues involving property, child support and child custody? Will depositions, which are pre-trial oral testimony that is transcribed by a court reporter, be necessary after written discovery is completed?
What Factors Can Affect the Timeline of My Divorce?
Disagreements over any of the issues listed above can make your divorce take more time. Whether or not you hire an attorney, it takes time to gather evidence to support your side of a disagreement with your spouse. In addition, if you have to resolve your disagreements with a trial, court delays can extend the process even more.
Contact The Larson Law Office with Your Questions
There is no way to know upfront exactly how much a divorce costs in Texas. The experienced family law attorneys at The Larson Law Office are ready to answer your questions about the cost of getting a divorce. We are available to discuss our hourly rates as well as a general idea of how much time your divorce case is likely to take. Call The Larson Law Office today to speak to an experienced Texas divorce attorney.