Going through a divorce or separation can create tremendous financial stress. Your cost of living has to be adjusted to include things like spousal maintenance (alimony) and child support. Plus, moving out of a residence into a new one or suddenly becoming a single-income household could create a sense of financial uncertainty.
Then, mix in a custody battle over your children, and all of this could quickly become overwhelming. In Texas, child custody battles can take years and sometimes do not really end until after the children reach full adult age. This can become quite expensive, which is why it’s important to know how much you can expect to pay throughout the duration of the process.
Average Cost of a Child Custody Battle
Due to the numerous variables involved in a child custody battle, the average cost tends to vary widely. From my experiences helping clients during a child custody dispute, the average range to consider is $5,000 to $35,000 in total expenses, but it can be far more expensive depending on the circumstances. Every family has different needs.
The factors that affect how much a child custody battle will cost include:
- The length of the child custody battle
- The number of court appearances required
- Applicable court and filing fees
- Discovery costs and expert witness costs
Certain cases may also require additional costs, such as drug tests and subpoenas. Each case requires different expenses, but, as a general rule, the more complicated the case, the more expensive it will be.
How Long Will a Custody Battle Last?
Part of the reason why custody battles can become so expensive is they can take a very long time before an agreement — or judge’s decision — is reached.
On average, custody battles take about eight months to a year to complete, with some lasting only a few months and others lasting years on end. That is why it’s very important to work with a family law attorney who will support you every step of the way. I will stay on top of your case for the entire duration so that we can drive toward the outcome you are fighting for.
Complications of a Child Custody Battle
Oftentimes, both parents have the same desires in mind, which can prolong a child custody case. When one parent seeks sole or primary custody of their child, and the other parent intends to seek the same, the case may become extensive and litigious.
In certain cases, when an agreement cannot be reached, taking the case to trial may be necessary. This further increases the overall cost of the custody battle and is the final step in reaching a resolution.
In situations where you can reach an amicable agreement with your ex-spouse regarding the custody of your child or children, the case can be resolved relatively quickly and will be less expensive to complete.
Who is Liable for the Cost of a Suit?
Each parent taking part in the custody battle will be responsible for hiring their own attorney, paying their own attorney’s fees, and completing their financial obligations for any applicable court fees.
However, in extreme and unusual cases, you may be able to hold your ex-spouse liable for a portion of or the entire cost of the suit, such as your own attorney’s fees. It should be noted that these situations are rare. The parties will almost always be responsible for their own litigation expenses.
However, in those rare cases where attorney’s fees and litigation costs may be ordered to be paid by the other party, you must provide sufficient evidence to the court as to why it is necessary for the other party to pay for all fees relating to the case. That being said, it is always best to expect to cover all fees from your side.
The Right Attorney Can Help With Your Case
Child custody battles can be emotionally and financially draining for parents. Because these cases often get heated and can take a while to sort out, you want a family law attorney who will have your back and help you stay focused while working through the complex legal system in Texas.
You do not have to go at it alone fighting for custody of your children. Over the past decade, I have helped numerous parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County navigate the court system in pursuit of their desired outcome.
I focus my law practice exclusively on family law so that I can provide clients like you with the best legal counsel possible. There is nothing more important than ensuring your children are raised in the right home and by the right people. I will be in your corner the entire time, fighting for you and your children.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss the specific details of your child custody situation.