How Much Does Divorce Cost in Texas
One of the first questions we get when a new client speaks to us is how much a divorce may cost them. It is natural to be worried about money when your life is changing around you. Moving Forward Divorce Lawyers represent clients in the Houston area throughout the legal process, providing objective and professional advice.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for you to know at the beginning exactly how much your divorce may cost. You do not want to be overly cost-conscious during your divorce because you may pay a price in the future. Always hire a divorce attorney to represent you during the process.
The Actual Costs of a Divorce
There are two major components of the cost of your divorce:
- Fees to file and court costs - filing fees usually range from $350-400, depending on the county
- The cost of an experienced divorce attorney - divorce attorneys charge by the hour, asking for a retainer upfront for the work that they will do in the future. You will get back any unused portion of the retainer
It is natural to be focused on cost during your divorce. After all, you are likely experiencing some financial upheaval and stress. The income that supported one household now needs to stretch to sustain two. You likely do not have unlimited funds to pay for legal help.
The Cost of Divorce Will Depend on Your Case’s Issues and Complexity
The cost of your divorce will be related to the number of issues you have and the lengths you need to go to resolve them. You should be careful about trusting any vague estimates that you see online that describe the cost of an “average” divorce. There is nothing average about your own circumstances. If you get tied into a specific financial expectation based on what others report, you could leave key issues unaddressed.
You could have an uncontested divorce, where you have negotiated a separation agreement, and it will cost less. Alternatively, you may have a contested divorce because you cannot agree on the key issues, and it would be more costly.
You have some degree of control over costs by reaching an agreement that leads to an uncontested divorce. Still, you should pay a lawyer to help negotiate the agreement in a way that protects your interests. While the aim is for an uncontested divorce, there are times when you may not be able to resolve the issues. In addition, it will take the help of a lawyer to reach the point where your divorce is uncontested.
Factors that Can Make Divorce More Costly
The following can increase the cost of your divorce:
- The presence of minor children
- The need for mediation when you cannot agree at first
- Disagreements over whether property is separate or part of the community property
- Disagreement over the valuation of assets
You Cannot Do Without a Lawyer
Emotionally, you are too close to the situation to effectively handle your own divorce. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney allows you to receive objective advice from someone who knows the law and can advocate for you. Trying to save money by not hiring a lawyer will come back to haunt you in the future.
Once your divorce is final, it can be very difficult to change a court order. Property division is permanent. You do not get a second chance once you reach an agreement, or the judge decides the case. To modify custody, you would need to prove that circumstances have changed substantially. If you do not spend what is necessary on your divorce, you may regret it later on, when you are locked into an unfeasible situation.
Do Not Fall for “Bargain” Divorce Offers
You should be wary of services that offer you a “complete divorce” for a rock-bottom price. This is truly a case of “you get what you pay for,” and you could leave yourself in a worse position. While you should do your best to control costs, you also need to invest in legal services during a divorce because your future is at stake. Some things, such as your future, merit spending some of your available money.
Contact a Houston Divorce Lawyer Today
You should call the Moving Forward Divorce Lawyers early in the process, so you can fully benefit from our experience and advice. Schedule a free consultation with one of our Houston divorce attorneys by calling us today at 713-589-4748. Investing in your divorce is an investment in yourself.