Cost is a common concern for people considering divorce in Texas. This leads to the question: How much is divorce in Texas?
Getting a divorce is notoriously expensive, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the cost factors involved. However, understanding what affects costs and preparing for common expenses can help you feel more in control of your financial future.
Average Cost of a Divorce in Texas
According to data from 24/7 Tempo, the average cost of a divorce in Texas without children is $15,600. When children are involved, that number shoots up to a staggering $23,500. Texas ranks as the fifth most expensive state for a divorce in the country.
Keep in mind that this is only an average figure. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the exact cost of your divorce, and it could cost significantly less or more than the average, depending on various factors.
5 Big Factors That Affect Divorce Cost in Texas
Each divorce is unique, and the cost will largely depend on your situation’s complexity. The following factors may affect the total cost of your divorce.
1. Contested or Uncontested
When spouses agree on all the major issues, such as child custody arrangements and how to divide assets, it’s known as an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce, on the other hand, happens when spouses are unable to come to an agreement on one or more of these issues, and the court must step in and make a ruling.
Uncontested divorces tend to be significantly cheaper to resolve than contested divorces. That’s because contested divorces in Texas involve more court hearings, more of your attorney’s time and resources, and sometimes even expert witnesses.
If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce via out-of-court negotiations, you can save a substantial amount of money. However, even one minor dispute will require a contested divorce.
2. Kids or No Kids
The presence of children is another major factor that can affect the cost of a divorce. Divorce cases involving kids require the creation of a parenting plan, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent.
This step requires more time and research from your attorney, which translates to higher costs. It may also result in added costs for mediators, child psychologists, and other specialists to ensure that the parenting plan is in the child’s best interests.
Most divorces involving children also involve child support payments. This is a court-ordered monthly payment from one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. Creating a fair and legally binding child support agreement requires additional time and resources.
3. Length of the Marriage
Texas is a community property state, meaning any assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage must be divided equally. The longer the marriage, the more assets there are to divide. This factor can significantly increase attorney fees and other costs related to determining how to split up assets.
Longer marriages are also more likely to result in spousal support payments being ordered in the divorce decree. In Texas, spousal support (sometimes referred to as alimony) is based on several factors, including the length of the marriage and the earning potential of each spouse.
Like with child support, creating or advocating for an equitable spousal support agreement requires considerable time and resources from your attorney.
4. Complexity of Asset Division
The cost of dividing assets in a divorce depends on the complexity of your financial situation. If you and your spouse have considerable investments, property, or other types of assets, the process of calculating and dividing these assets will require more of your attorney’s time.
Diving up a larger number of assets may result in higher attorney fees and other costs, such as appraisal fees, forensic accounting services, and other services to help determine the fair market value of each asset.
It’s also important to be aware of hidden assets. If one spouse has been hiding the existence of certain property or funds, it may be necessary to invest in resources that can help uncover these assets. This situation will add further costs to the process.
5. Level of Legal Representation
In addition to divorce filing fees, attorney fees make up a large portion of the cost of divorce in Texas. The amount you’ll pay will largely depend on the level of representation you choose.
For instance, if your divorce is amicable and you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce, you can reduce costs by choosing a more limited level of representation, such as consulting with an attorney to review paperwork.
Alternatively, suppose your divorce is highly contested or particularly complex. In that case, you must invest in a higher level of representation from an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights. The time necessary to gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and represent you in a trial can add up quickly, resulting in higher attorney fees.
How Much is Divorce in Texas? Talk to a Family Law Attorney
While working with an attorney in Texas undoubtedly has a cost, it can also help you minimize expenses in the long run.
When you navigate the divorce process with a lower level of legal representation than your case calls for, you may end up making mistakes or overlooking important factors. These errors could cost you more than you would have paid if you had invested in quality legal representation from the outset.
An experienced family law attorney will help you consider every cost-related issue that will affect the total amount you will end up paying by the end of the legal process. The attorneys at Parker & Aguilar can help you make smart decisions throughout the divorce process that will minimize costs and protect your interests.
If you’re ready to take the next step, the family law office of Parker & Aguilar is here to help. Our experienced family law attorneys understand the divorce process in Texas, and we’re committed to helping you navigate a divorce with confidence.
We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact us today to discuss a legal divorce in Texas.
You can reach us at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to schedule a consultation about how much is divorce in Texas. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you get started on your case.