talking with a divorce lawyer

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Texas?

The average cost of a divorce lawyer in Texas is about $200 per hour with average prices ranging from $100 to $300 per hour. You can expect to see outlier pricing that ranges from $30 to $500/hour as well.

There are also other fees to pay during the divorce. Therefore, trying to figure out the total cost of a marriage dissolution in Texas is a difficult task, as every case is different and requires an individual approach.

An uncontested divorce is always a cheaper option and can be obtained even without a lawyer if a couple comes to an agreement regarding all divorce-related issues. However, if your case is more complicated, and you cannot reach an agreement on child custody and support, property and assets division, etc., then you should hire a lawyer and be ready for higher expenses.

Hourly Rates for Divorce Lawyers in Texas

The reason why attorney fees for divorce vary from $100 to $300 hourly is that they depend on the lawyers’ experience, skills, and knowledge. Moreover, the average lawyer hourly rate in big cities is usually higher than in small ones, getting to about $500 per hour.

If your goal is to save money, or if your case is simple and you reached an agreement with your spouse, you may choose a lawyer who is:

  • Relatively new to the field, with an hourly rate of around $100 due to the lack of experience.
  • Located in a smaller city but has experience in family law.
  • A consultant who can help you with a bare minimum and charge you accordingly.

However, if you cannot resolve the disputes with your spouse or are filing for a fault divorce, then an experienced attorney increases your chances for a winning outcome of the divorce.

Most lawyers will charge a retainer once you hire them to start working on your case. The initial retainer amount varies between $2,500 and $5,000, but can be higher in case of a complex divorce. This aspect must be discussed during your first meeting with a lawyer.

Total Cost of a Divorce Lawyer

An average cost of a divorce lawyer in Texas is around $11,000- $13,000 and depends on the number of issues spouses need resolved. Still, it is difficult to determine how much you will spend in total for the attorney’s service, even when you know the hourly rate. To calculate the total cost of a divorce attorney in Texas, you should take many factors into consideration:

  • Contested vs. uncontested case.If you qualify for an uncontested divorce, you can avoid unnecessary expenses of hiring a lawyer and use a reliable online service to prepare your documents. 
  • Minor children.When spouses cannot agree on custody and child support, the lawyer fees for divorce will be much higher as more time will be needed to solve all the disagreements.
  • Property division issues. Texas is a community property state, which means that all the community property and debts should be equally divided between the parties. If there is a property-related conflict between the spouses, the price of the attorney’s service will increase.
  • Joint business ownership.In Texas, a business started after marriage is considered community property, and both spouses have equal rights for it. On the other hand, a business founded before marriage is considered a separate property, which may still have community components.  Such cases must be analyzed by the lawyer, which may affect the total price of a divorce.  

If you don’t need full-scope legal representation, you can consider hiring a lawyer only for a specific aspect of a divorce, like reviewing your settlement agreement. In case when a person cannot afford to pay for a divorce lawyer and can provide proof of a low income, an attorney can be appointed by the court free of charge.

Other Expenses for Divorce with a Lawyer

A divorce lawyer fee is not the only expense you will have during the process of dissolution of marriage. There are several other factors which may increase the total cost of a divorce:

  • Depending on the complexity of your case, you might need to involve other experts. For example, if spouses cannot reach an agreement over child custody and support, the court may appoint a custody evaluator or parenting coordinator.
  • A divorce lawyer cost can also rise significantly in case of a fault divorce when one of the spouses blames the other party for the failure of their marriage. It implies additional time to collect and evaluate the evidence and affects the total price.

How Disputes and Trial Affect the Cost of Divorce

Another factor that greatly affects the cost for divorce attorney is whether your case goes to trial or not. Given that the cost of family lawyer is based on the hourly rates, divorces that involve litigation tend to be the most expensive. The trial requires thorough preparation of the documents, analysis of evidence, and plenty of other actions on behalf of your attorney, which will affect the total price of the service. The trial can take from a couple of hours to several days, depending on your case.  

Luckily, the trial is not the only way to resolve the disputes between spouses. There are alternative ways to solve the disagreements to avoid costly litigation:

  • Divorce Mediation.It is a negotiation process between the parties in presence of a neutral mediator who helps the spouses to reach a mutual agreement. It gives the couple more control over the questions regarding child support or property issues in comparison with the trial, where a judge makes the final decision.
  • Divorce Arbitration.Another cost-effective alternative to a trial is arbitration, where both parties give evidence in front of the arbitrator, who then makes a legally binding decision on each issue.
  • Collaborative Law.This practice allows the couple to solve disputes outside the courtroom. The spouses work together with collaborative lawyers who help them resolve all issues and reach a mutual agreement. 

If none of the above-mentioned alternatives works for a couple, the case will be heard in court, and the judge will make a final decision after hearing the evidence of both parties.

Divorce Filing Fees and Other Expenses

Regardless of the type of divorce, there are some expenses that are obligatory for almost everyone filing for the divorce. To officially start the process of divorce, a petitioner has to pay the divorce filing fee in the county court. The price ranges from $250 to $350 depending on the county. If the petitioner cannot afford to pay the divorce application fee, it is possible to ask for a waiver and fill in the Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs. Other expenses and family court fees may include the cost of hiring a process server, deposition transcripts service, and the payment to the experts involved in analyzing your case.

The Cost of Online Divorce Services

If a couple qualifies for an uncontested no-fault divorce, it is not necessary to hire a lawyer. When you decide to represent yourself in court and want to be sure of the accuracy of the forms, you should consider our online divorce service.

Online divorce cost is much cheaper than the price of the legal representation. The flat fee for preparing the required forms online is $139. After completing a questionnaire, you will get the ready-to-use forms and detailed instructions on how to file them with the court.  All the forms will be specific to your case and up to date. You can also count on 24/7 support of our team of professionals.