Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by Benson Varghese
Cost of divorce in Texas
A recent USA Today article putting the average cost of divorce in Texas without children at $15,600, and the average cost of a divorce with children in Texas at $23,500 which puts Texas fifth in the nation on the list for most expensive divorces.
Fortunately, the cost of a divorce is something the parties have a significant ability to control and some divorces can be finalized for much less than the state average.
Divorce Process in Texas
How expensive or lengthy the divorce process may be for each individual depends on a number of factors. One of the most critical factors in estimating the cost of your divorce depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
Anticipating Costs in Contested Divorces
A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on certain important aspects of the divorce. In some cases, one spouse may not want to get divorced at all. In other cases, a spouse may disagree about how much child support they owe, how property should be divided, who gets custody of minor children, and other important matters. A contested divorce tends to be more expensive than an uncontested divorce, simply because it takes longer and requires the settlement of these disputes.
Filing for a Contested Divorce in Texas
To file for a contested divorce in Texas, one spouse needs to file an original petition for divorce and state the grounds for divorce. The spouse must then have the documents legally served on the other spouse so they are aware that the divorce has been filed and know that they must file a response. Service must be performed by a process server or law enforcement officer.
Divorce Hearings in Texas
The spouses must then participate in hearings, such as a temporary order hearing, at which they present evidence to convince the judge of how the spouses should be behaving during the divorce. For example, according to Sec. 6-501-502 of the Texas Family Code, temporary orders can include temporary child support or custody orders, temporary restraining orders, or temporary spousal maintenance orders, among others.
Divorce Negotiations and Settlements
During the divorce, the spouses should be trying to reach a compromise as much as possible, which means that there is likely going to be ongoing settlement negotiations or mediations. The goal of a settlement is to avoid an expensive divorce trial, but unfortunately, sometimes issues cannot be agreed upon. If the case must go to trial, this means that the spouses are out of options, and a judge will need to make the final determinations based on evidence.
This can become a lengthy process, which is why contested divorces can be quite expensive in the long run.
Anticipating Costs in Uncontested Divorces
Uncontested divorces tend to be shorter and easier to resolve. If both parties agree to get divorced, then the process is a bit more streamlined. One spouse will file the original petition for divorce, but in an uncontested divorce, the other spouse can simply waive their right to service pursuant to Sec. 6-4035 of the Texas Family Code.
Uncontested Divorce Process in Divorce
An uncontested divorce eliminates the need for the filing spouse to hire a process server. Because there is no need for settlement negotiations, mediations, or trial, the spouses in an uncontested divorce can simply fill out a divorce decree and submit it to the court to be finalized. Although there is a 60-day waiting period, this tends to go much more quickly than a contested divorce. After the waiting period is over, a judge will issue a final decree of divorce, and the process is complete.
Why Uncontested Divorces Are Not Always Optimal For Certain Spouses
Uncontested divorces, although they seem like the better option, are not right for everyone. Do not try to file for an uncontested divorce if you or your spouse disagree about custody, property division, or spousal maintenance. Generally, uncontested divorces are difficult for spouses with minor children or disabled children as well. If any of these factors are at play in your divorce, consider going the contested divorce route.
What Costs Are Involved in a Divorce in Texas?
Throughout both contested and uncontested divorces, there are costs along the way. Some of the expenses that arise during and after divorce include:
- Attorney’s fees and expenses
- Court filing fees
- Hiring a process server
- Mediators or consulting attorneys
Types of Attorney Fees
Hiring an attorney is one of the most expensive aspects of a divorce, but the amount of attorney’s fees varies based on a number of factors. Keep in mind that attorneys generally cannot represent family law clients on a contingency fee basis, so they will usually charge either an hourly or a flat rate. If the rate is hourly, then the amount of time the divorce takes will greatly impact how much a divorce costs in Texas.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce Costs
If the divorce is uncontested, the attorney has much less to do, which means they will charge for fewer hours. Apart from drafting paperwork, reviewing agreements, and attending hearings, the role of the attorney is much less involved than in a contested divorce. Meanwhile, a contested divorce requires a lot more back-and-forth and a lot more hours of attorney’s fees. Between filing motions, attending hearings, engaging in discovery, and representing the client in negotiations and at trial, the attorney’s fees may begin to add up.
Do I Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney?
Knowing that a divorce attorney is expensive often dissuades people from hiring one, instead opting to handle their divorce on their own. It is important to remember what is at stake in a divorce, however. Divorce means dividing all of your marital property, dividing parenting time, and possibly even paying child support or spousal maintenance. Investing in a Texas divorce lawyer to do it right may make the difference in whether you get to live in your house, spend time with your children, or keep control of your business, among many others. The consequences of a poorly negotiated divorce can be life-altering. Consider consulting with a Texas family lawyer before attempting to handle your divorce solo.
Contact Our Experienced Fort Worth Divorce Attorneys for a Consultation
A divorce in Texas can cost a considerable amount of financial resources. Hiring an attorney may add cost to a divorce, but it helps eliminate some of the risk that you lose out on what’s most important to you. Contact the compassionate and experienced family law attorneys at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group at (817) 900-3220 or send us a message online to speak with a dedicated Texas family lawyer.