“How much does a Texas divorce cost?” is a question we answer most every day. Not surprisingly, the answer depends on a number of factors. Let David Eaker, North Texas Divorce Lawyer, help answer this for you.
“Contested” vs. “Uncontested” are misnomers and misleading and are really a product of lawyer advertising used to shortcut around the real answer.
So, “how much does a divorce cost?” In a divorce lawsuit all your community property must be divided between the spouses and if you have children, provision must be made for their support, conservatorship, and possession. These are not simple issues and all have enormous consequences.
I wrote above that the terms “contested” and “uncontested” don’t really mean anything and this is true to an extent. The vast majority of cases/lawsuits/divorces all end with an agreement of one sort or another. When and how complete such an agreement is can streamline the litigation into more of a transaction but the work remains to allocate those rights regarding children and property.
A well trained lawyer will help ensure you get what you think you have agreed to. And where the parties are unable to agree, lawyers help parties know how to best resolve these critical issues with options and advice on how to avoid mistakes.
Everyone should have an attorney except in the very specific cases in which the spouses are living in a rented residence, employed, with a short-term marriage, and limited property. (See www.TexasLawHelp.org). Unless all of the preceding matches your situation, you need an attorney — and avoid any self-help online resources as it will create many more problems than it’s worth.
So what makes one divorce cost more than another? Why are divorces so expensive? Experienced divorce lawyers like those at the Eaker Law Firm bring years of experience (knowledge of mistakes to avoid and options available to resolve issues). Experienced lawyers can also smooth the process and bring your case to final resolution quicker and easier and really that’s what you want. Want to reduce your expenses? Read our blog post: “How to reduce your legal fees“.
Lawyers primarily bill hourly for their time and paralegal time. More experienced lawyers bill more per hour but should be spending less time as they are more efficient and able to better delegate to their staff at lower rates. From my decades of experience, this all balances out financially with total costs being relatively similar from one lawyer to another. The resulting product and (even more importantly) how you feel with your lawyer (and legal team) are the real distinguishing factors between lawyers. Lesson: do not try to choose a lawyer based on what you expect it will cost but rather find a lawyer you feel comfortable and emotionally safe to work with.
You can assume that a straightforward divorce will cost $5,000-$10,000.00 per party. Hearings on temporary orders, mediation, trial, discovery (formal exchange of information), and other legal processes available during such litigation will add expense, time, and often drama to your divorce lawsuit. For a “normal couple” — if there is such a thing — with a house, retirement, children — who cannot agree without court intervention you can expect legal fees of $20,000 plus per party. Add chemical abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, and the litany of “crazy” that are so often what brings a couple into divorce litigation and your fees grow tremendously. But this all makes sense if you pause to think about it. These are the issues that divorce lawyers deal with every day and are experienced with handling and are here to serve you — for a fee — to resolve these problems for you and your family. Likewise, it makes sense that multi-million dollar estates with complicated tax or financial implications will require financial experts with their attendant expense.
The old joke remains true:
Why are divorces so expensive?
Because they are worth it!
For comparison, Realtors are routinely paid a 3% per party commission to buy or sell a house — $10,500 commission on a $350,000 house. A divorce lawyer is transferring ownership not of just your house but every asset you and your spouse own as well as navigating the emotional issues as well as everything relating to the care of your children. Compared to Realtors you can see that lawyer’s fees are quite reasonable.
Contact David Eaker today and let us discuss about how we charge for our services, what you can expect from your divorce lawyer, and how you can help make this process smoother for you and your family. We look forward to working with you.