One of the most common and difficult questions for a divorce attorney to answer is, "How much will my divorce cost?"In this article, the average cost of divorces in Texas will be discussed along with the factors that can increase the cost of a divorce.
According to a 2015 study conducted by Martindale-Nolo Research, the average divorce in Texas without children costs $15,300.00 and the average divorce in Texas with children costs $23,500.00. These figures include all costs, such as attorney's fees, court costs and in some cases, experts. However, attorney's fees make up the bulk of these costs. The study found that total attorney's fees in a Texas divorce tend to range from $5,000.00 on the low end to around $34,000.00 on the high end.
Before we get into what specific factors can increase the cost of a divorce, it's important to understand that all the factors listed below have one thing in common: they increase conflict. Because almost all divorce attorneys charge by the hour, the only real truth when it comes to the cost of a divorce is: "The more you fight, the more it will cost." Keeping that in mind, let's consider what factors can increase the cost of a divorce.
Obviously, from the study alone, it's clear that divorces with children cost more than divorces without children. This makes sense and is probably what most people would expect. Divorce is an already highly emotional enterprise, and when you add children whom both parents love deeply, then there's more reason for conflict. Children bring with them a myriad of issues, such as support, visitation and conservatorship. A disagreement about any of these issues can really create more work for your attorney and drive up costs.
2. Going to Court.
Each step in a divorce can be completed by agreement, including the final divorce decree itself. However, when the parties can't reach an agreement on a specific matter, then that matter will have to be resolved by the judge. Taking any matter before the court means a lot more work for your attorney, including: preparing for the court date, preparing you for the court date, preparing witnesses for the court date, appearing at court and waiting at court until it's your turn to be heard. Staying out of court as much as possible significantly reduces the cost of a divorce.
Discovery is the formal process during a divorce case by which parties get information and documents from the other party. Plainly put, discovery can be very expensive. Generally, preparing requests for documents and information doesn't take much time for an attorney. However, preparing responses to the other side's request for information and documents takes time. Also, going through the other side's responses and documents takes time. Finally, if the other side doesn't turn over everything they were supposed to, fighting about missing information and documents takes time.
At times the personality of the spouses as much as their assets or kids drives up the cost of divorce. Some people are just stubborn, angry, plain dumb or all of the above. If your spouse falls into any of these categories, they may be hard to work with during a divorce. They may not listen to their attorney. They may ask for things they will never get from a court. And all that will mean you may have to spend more money in attorney's fees to get to the same place as someone with a reasonable, cool headed and well-informed spouse.