Going to court for a divorce or child custody matter is not only intimidating, it is also important. The outcome of your temporary orders hearing will set the tone for your day-to-day life while your divorce is pending. Temporary orders address issues like child custody and support, who gets to live in the marital home, and who has the right to make decisions about a child’s medical or psychological treatment.
After the temporary orders hearing, you or your attorney will work to negotiate an agreed settlement on property division and child custody. The court will likely order you and your estranged spouse to attend mediation if your attorneys cannot negotiate a settlement. And if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the matter may go to trial.
In addition, the outcome of a divorce or suit affecting the parent-child relationship will have life-long implications. While the divorce process in Texas can be expensive, the cost of divorce in Texas can be worth it when you consider what is at stake.
Most people associate the cost of divorce in Texas with attorney fees. There are, however, other important and necessary expenses to be aware of. At the Law Office of J. Barrett Wilson, we will work with your budget. We will provide you options that we think are in your and your child’s best interests. And we will work within your budget to bring about the best outcome possible.
Filing for Divorce in Texas
Filing fees are a necessary evil in divorce and SAPCR cases. For the judge to review a document, it must be filed with the district clerk of the county with jurisdiction. Each time you file a document, the clerk charges a fee. To see Collin County’s civil filing fees, for example, click here.
When a divorce or SAPCR involves little conflict, there are only a few documents to file. Those include the original petition, the response, certificates of service, and a final decree.
When a divorce or SAPCR involves high conflict, however, attorneys may have to file numerous motions. Those motions can address topics such as:
- Compelling the opposing party to comply with discovery rules and requests
- Motions to enforce temporary orders
- Motions to hold the opposing party in contempt
- Motions requesting the court to appoint child custody evaluators
- Motions to appoint a receiver who will sell property and distribute the proceeds
Parties to a divorce or SAPCR can spend several hundred up to several thousand dollars on filing fees depending on the level of conflict in the case. Therefore, it is important to keep filing fees in mind when estimating the cost of divorce in Texas.
In high-conflict divorces, experts play an important role. When the parties in a divorce or SAPCR cannot agree on property division or child custody, the only way for the case to be resolved in the court system is through a trial. Since Texas divorce and child custody laws require judges to divide community property in a just a right manner, confirm separate property, and make child custody determinations that are in the best interest of the child, family court judges will look to experts for guidance. Judges may also appoint certain officials to help the parties conduct themselves appropriately while their case is pending. Those experts and appointments can include:
- Child custody evaluators
- Parenting coordinators
- Parenting facilitators
- Forensic accountants
- QDRO specialists
- Psychological evaluators
Moreover, experts, appointed officials, and their potential testimony play vital roles in mediation and trial. Their services can be expensive. If your budget is limited, your divorce or custody lawyer will help you decide which experts will be most helpful while keeping the cost of divorce in Texas in mind.
Accept when family violence is involved, most courts can and will order mediation before a divorce or SAPCR goes to trial. Mediators typically charge a flat rate for either a half-day or full-day service. Some mediators will charge overtime fees if the mediation spills past the allotted time. In Collin and Denton Counties, the average cost for a full day of mediation is $2,400. Some mediators may charge more, some less. Courts will order the parties to split the cost of mediation evenly. Since most divorces and SAPCRs resolve themselves through mediation, it is important to budget for mediator fees when considering the cost of divorce in Texas.
Attorney fees in family law cases vary widely depending on the geographical region, the attorney’s experience, and the law firm’s overhead costs. You can reasonably expect divorce and custody attorneys in North Texas to bill hourly at rates between $250 to $600 per hour. Paralegals typically bill their time at rates of $100 to $200 per hour. The more conflict a case involves, the more time your attorney will spend fighting on your behalf. And the more time your attorney spends, the more the cost of your divorce in Texas will increase.
It is also possible to represent yourself in a divorce or child custody matter. The more you have at stake, the more important it is to have an experienced attorney fighting on your behalf. I highly recommend that you hire a good divorce or custody lawyer who fits your budget. If you choose to represent yourself, you can find valuable resources at Texas Law Help.
Getting a Divorce in Texas?
We want to help. At the Law Office of J. Barrett Wilson, we fight hard for our clients while keeping costs in mind. Contact us now to schedule a consultation. For more information about the divorce process in general, click here.