How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Texas?
According to the survey by Martindale Nolo Research, the average divorce in Texas costs $15,600, including $15,000 in attorneys’ fees. Attorneys’ fees make up a large portion of the cost of divorce because the average hourly rate for attorneys in Texas is $100-$300. However, every divorce case is unique, and many factors affect its final cost.
What Affects the Cost of Divorce?
Many couples planning to end their marriage ask the same question: “Why is divorce so expensive?”. The truth is that dissolution of a marriage is not always very costly. The critical aspect which may lead to an increasing cost of divorce in Texas is whether the spouses can reach an agreement regarding divorce-related issues or not. Couples who are cooperative about all the aspects of divorce and don’t have any disagreements can file for an uncontested divorce and avoid expenses on the lawyer’s services. However, when it is not possible to resolve disputes peacefully, the spouses should be ready to spend a significant amount of money on an attorney’s service.
Let’s look at the other factors that influence the price of divorce in Texas:
- Child custody battles.As a rule, divorces that involve minor children tend to be more expensive than those without children. In case of any disagreements regarding child custody and support, the judge can appoint a third-party expert, whose main aim is to find the best solution for the child. The price for such a service can vary between $500 to $15,000 depending on the number of contested issues and the willingness of the spouses to reach a consensus.
- Fighting over the marital property in a divorce. According to Texas law, all the property and debts acquired during the marriage are considered community assets and must be equally divided between the spouses. The best scenario is when both spouses can reach an agreement regarding the property division matters and incorporate this decision into the Final Decree of Divorce. Otherwise, the judge will have to make that decision, which does not always satisfy both parties. Typically, the more property and assets a couple has, the more difficult it is to find the optimal solution for both spouses. It requires a long time for the lawyers to resolve these disagreements, which drastically increases the total cost of divorce. An expert in property evaluation may help appraise the real estateand other property.
- Legal expenses & legal fees. Expenses for the attorney’s service make up a significant part of the overall cost of divorce in Texas. It is possible to avoid them in case of an uncontested divorce when spouses represent themselves pro se in court. For complex contested cases, legal representation is required. When it comes to the question of who should pay the legal fees and expenses, as a rule, each spouse pays for their lawyer’s service.
Cost of Uncontested Divorce in Texas
The average cost of uncontested divorce in Texas varies between $300 – $5000. The main factor that influences uncontested divorce in Texas cost is whether the spouses hire lawyers or not. If a couple has reached an agreement regarding property and assets division, child custody and support, and other divorce-related issues, they may not hire a lawyer for their divorce case.
If the spouses represent themselves in court without legal assistance, they still may need help with filling out the forms required for their case. To make sure everything is done correctly and save money on the lawyer’s service, you are welcome to use our reliable online service for preparing the forms.
How Much Do Divorce Papers Cost
The fixed online divorce papers price is $139. One of the main advantages of ordering cheap divorce papers online is that you don’t have to deal with all the paperwork by yourself. Instead, after you complete a questionnaire on the website, you will receive accurate and up-to-date forms with the instructions on how to file them with the court. The forms may vary if you have minor children or not, but it doesn’t influence the price of the service. Ordering divorce papers online is a good and cheap alternative to a lawyer’s service, which costs approximately $200 per hour, if you are looking for a way to reduce the divorce expenses.
Cost of Divorce in Texas With Child
The average divorce cost in Texas when there are minor children involved is $23,500. Divorcing in Texas with children can be stressful and expensive, especially if the spouses have many disagreements regarding child custody, visitation rights, and child support. There are several factors that influence the total cost of a divorce:
- Legal representation is required in case of contested divorce with children. The more issues are contested, the more time the spouses will need to reach an agreement; therefore, the expenses for the attorney’s service may increase significantly.
- Moreover, most Texas courts require that parents complete parenting courses before the divorce can be finalized. These courses can be taken together or separately and, as a rule, last a couple of hours or days. Getting a certificate for completing parenting classes adds up to the total price of divorce.
- Besides, the child’s interest is always a priority for the court; therefore, a judge can order a couple to use the services of a third-party expert to work together through the disagreements. Such services are paid for additionally. An expert in child custody and support will analyze the financial situation of both parents, the reasons for divorce, and the relationships between spouses. After hearing both sides, an expert will offer the solution that will be the best for the child. This decision is not final, and it is up to the parents to agree to it or not.
If the couple still cannot reach an amicable solution regarding child-related issues, the final decision will be made by a judge, which may not satisfy any of the parties. It is always recommended to resolve all these questions outside the courtroom to avoid the trial.
Cost of Contested Divorce in Texas
According to surveys by Martindale Nolo Research, the average price of a contested divorce in Texas is around $15,600. However, the price of divorce in Texas can be much higher in complex cases with many contested issues. It is important to mention that lawyer’s service constitutes the major part of the total expenses of divorce. Some other factors that influence the price of dissolution of marriage are:
- A no-fault or fault-based divorce. Fault divorces cost more because they require more time to collect evidence to prove adultery or a fact of cruelty, etc., which can significantly increase the total price.
- The type of process that leads to reaching an agreement between the spouses. These include:
- Negotiation. It can be done simply within the family or with the help of an attorney. As the lawyers charge per hour, the price can vary depending on the ability of the parties to solve their disagreements.
- Mediation. This process involves the assistance of a neutral mediator, whose role is to help the divorcing parties come up with a solution regarding contested issues; their services are paid additionally. The lawyers may or may not be present during the process of mediation.
- Arbitration. This procedure means that after hearing both sides, a third-party arbitrator will make the binding decision. Though it leaves less freedom for the spouses over the decision-making process, it is still cheaper than litigation.
- Collaborative divorce. Another way to reach an agreement outside the courtroom is with the help of collaborative law. During this procedure, both spouses, together with their lawyers and trained professionals, are working towards the same goal, which is to find a solution to the conflicts. It may be a costly process in case a couple needs to use the assistance of other experts regarding finances, children, etc.
- Trial. The most expensive scenario of divorce is litigation. When none of the above-mentioned options helped to reach an agreement, and the case goes to court, the lawyers will spend weeks preparing for the hearings, which can take a few days. As a result, the bills for the attorney’s service will reach their maximum. That is why it is always recommended to make everything possible to avoid litigation.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Texas
The average cost of a divorce lawyer in Texas is $200; however, the prices can be as low as $50 and as high as $500 per hour, depending on various factors:
- Thelawyer fees for divorce are usually higher in big cities than in small towns.
- Experienced lawyers are more likely to charge more than their colleagues at the beginning of their practice. If you have a simple case and want to save money, you can try hiring a beginner; however, if the case is complicated and you have many contested issues, an experienced attorney has more chances to bring the desired outcome of the divorce.
- The scope of the assistance. It is possible to hire a lawyer not for the whole divorce process, but just for a specific amount of work, like assisting during the mediation or reviewing your settlement agreement.
Another important question that many couples ask is, “who pays attorney fees in divorce in Texas?”. As a rule, each spouse is obliged to pay for their lawyer’s service. However, in cases when one of the spouses cannot afford to pay the legal fees, the judge can order the other spouse to cover the fees for both attorneys. It may happen after analyzing the financial situation of the couple and their assets and income.
Another option for a person who cannot afford to pay the legal fees is to apply for pro bono legal support from no-profit organizations.
Moreover, it is important to remember that in case of an uncontested divorce, it is possible to represent yourself in court pro se, which significantly reduces the total expenses. Find more information regarding the price of a divorce lawyer’s service in Texas here.
Divorce Fees in Texas
To start the process of divorce, a petitioner must file the documents with the court and pay the divorce legal fees, which range from $250-$320. The price varies depending on the court, so it is always recommended to check it directly at the clerk’s office. There may be additional expenses if you need to serve copies of the documents to the respondent. Serving the spouse can be done by a constable, sheriff, or process server. In case a person cannot pay the filing fees, it is possible to fill in the Statement of Inability to Afford Payments of Courts Costs. Your case will be reviewed, and a waiver of service can be granted.