According to the 2015 survey, the average divorce in Texas costs $15,600, including around $15,000 in lawyers’ fees. If the couple has children, the expenses can reach $23,000. The costs also depend on such factors as level of conflict, need for property division, alimony requests, lawyer’s or mediator’s fees, etc.
When the couple makes a hard decision to end their marriage, one of the first questions that come to their mind is, “how much does a divorce cost in Texas?” It is not a surprise that a price is a stumbling point for many spouses considering that legal proceedings are very expensive in the USA.
However, the average cost of a divorce primarily depends on the type of marriage dissolution you are filing for. In fact, it cost around $300 to get divorced in Texas if you are in full agreement with your spouse and complete the paperwork on your own. However, the cost will start at around $12,000 if your case is contested and requires you to hire a lawyer.
What Affects the Cost of Divorce?
The divorce cost in Texas depends on many factors, such as:
- Contested case.
If you and your spouse have some unresolved disputes concerning finances or childcare, you will need lawyers. The average cost of a family law attorney in Texas is around $320 per hour, depending on their experience. The more things you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on, the longer your divorce proceedings will last.
Even a lawyer will not be able to predict how much time your case will take, but it’s going to last for at least half a year. While it’s hard to say how much that is in your lawyer’s hours, it may be anywhere from $12,000 if there are no kids or property and way over $20,000 if there are.
- Legal assistance.
No matter what kind of divorce you opt for, you may still need a lawyer’s assistance. Even if your case is uncontested, you may need help with paperwork preparation and filing if you do not wish to do it independently. You may also need to discuss some aspects of your marriage dissolution with other experts such as accountants and assessors. Such consultations will also increase the cost of your divorce.
- Marital assets.
If you have property or debt and cannot agree on how to divide it, the court will have to make this decision for you. Texas is a community property state, which means that everything acquired during the marriage is considered community property, with a few exceptions, and should be divided equally between you and your spouse. It will take a considerable amount of time to prove that the division you’re proposing is better than the one that your ex wants, and the court’s decision may leave neither of you satisfied with the result.
- Custody battles.
If you and your ex cannot agree on custody, the court will involve third-party experts such as custody evaluators. Such a service may cost anywhere from $500 for each spouse and up to $15,000 if you opt for private evaluation in addition to the regular one.
The court will make all the custody-related decisions taking into account the findings of the evaluator and the best interests of the child. If you request sole custody, you may not be able to get it even with a great lawyer, as courts prefer that children maintain healthy relationships with both parents unless the other parent is unfit.
The price of getting a divorce in Texas will be sufficiently higher if any of the parties delays the process, refuses to cooperate, or makes certain decisions out of pettiness.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Texas?
The average cost of uncontested divorce in Texas ranges between $300 and $5,000, depending on whether lawyers are involved. In general, it is the cheapest and the quickest option available in any state. As you are already in full agreement, you won’t have to hire a lawyer, which is a factor that sufficiently decreases the cost of uncontested divorce in Texas. You may either complete the paperwork on your own or get help online.
Note that getting a divorce in Texas without a lawyer presupposes being in agreement. You need to have a clear line of communication with your spouse to decide what each of you will get or take responsibility for after you end your marriage. The aspects you have to discuss include but are not limited to custody and child support, property and debt division, and spousal support. All of your decisions on these matters have to be included in your Settlement Agreement.
Contested Divorce in Texas: Costs
The average cost of contested divorce in the state of Texas is $15,600, which is a real fortune for many couples. The average rate of a family law attorney is $320 and can be even higher if your attorney is experienced in situations similar to yours or if the case is serious.
In general, the more issues the court has to resolve for you, the higher the cost of your divorce. No matter if you need to divide your property, decide on custody, or determine the need for spousal support, you will have to hire lawyers and other professionals who will have to inspect your case and even testify in court, which will significantly increase the costs.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Texas?
Texas divorce lawyers charge from $130 to $415. Divorce lawyer cost per hour is determined based on several factors:
- The divorce lawyer hourly rates will be significantly higher in big cities or counties. Therefore, it is better to review the prices in your area before making a decision. For example, the average family law attorney cost in Houston is $300.
- An inexperienced lawyer will likely charge significantly less than the experienced one. However, many divorcees prefer working with those who successfully represented their clients in similar cases before. They may, indeed, know how to approach the situation better than their less experienced colleagues and help to resolve the case faster. Therefore, such lawyers charge around $300-400 per hour.
- Case specifics. You may only need to hire a consulting lawyer to help you with particular aspects of your divorce. For example, they may assist you during mediation, create a Settlement Agreement, or fill in the required paperwork. If you have a case with custody battles and asset division disputes, hiring a consulting lawyer will not be enough.
- When filing for divorce in Texas, you have to state the reason for the breakdown of your marriage. If no one is to blame, you just need to state that your marriage is “insupportable,” which may happen due to conflicts or certain disagreements. However, if there was spousal misconduct and you want it to influence the outcome of your divorce, you will have to prove it. This would be on your lawyer to do, so their services will be substantially more expensive.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce?
To file for divorce in Texas, you will have to pay around $300 directly to the court. The cost of filing for divorce in Texas varies from county to county, so it is better to contact your local clerk to find out the exact fee.
Also, please note that you will be charged for copies of your paperwork and other miscellaneous services. If you have a lawyer, you will not need to pay such fees separately, as they will present you with a bill covering them.
If you cannot afford to cover divorce fees in Texas, you may file an Affidavit of Inability of Pay. The court will consider your financial situation and decide on whether you will pay or not.