If you ask a lawyer a question about your legal situation, their response
may well be, “It depends.” Years of seeing a number of different
scenarios play out for different sorts of clients results in a lawyer
understanding that there is no perfect answer to give any one client.
This is true whether the question is about an aspect of their case or
what a specific sort of
family law case will end up costing.
If you have been through a
child custody case in which you had
child support set up, you know what your prior case ended up costing you. I remind clients
that whatever the cost of a case, it is an investment in your and your
This can seem like lawyer-speak sometimes, especially when a case enters
its middle stages and time starts to slow down and it feels like it will
never end. The question remains though- what will a child support enforcement
case cost if you need to go back and address missed payments by your ex-spouse?
Attorneys want to an earn a living, but don’t want to drag a case out
Movies and television have done a great job of portraying attorneys as
money hungry. If it were left up to Hollywood, attorneys would be in business
primarily to help themselves and line their pockets along the way. Your
simple, open and shut family law matter? A “typical” attorney
will do whatever he or she can to string the case out and charge you for
the pleasure of doing so. Is this how it is in real life?
Again, since you have been through a family law case before, hopefully,
your experience does not match up with this one. Lawyers do want to earn
an income, as do you, but there is one thing that movies and television
don’t tell you that I will.
Lawyers are also busy just like you are. While we want to earn an income,
we also want to move a case along the process efficiently so that you
can reach your goals. Doing so ensures a happier client and a less stressed
Factors to take into consideration when hiring a family law attorney
From what I can tell after having met with many potential clients of the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, people in your position will typically look for experience, proximity
to their home and cost when hiring an attorney.
These are all great attributes to look for in an attorney, by the way.
I also recommend meeting with an attorney face to face to allow you an
idea of how you and the attorney relate to one another.
This is not a business transaction, contract dispute or personal injury
case that you are about to undertake. This is a family law matter that
is near and dear to your heart. You want to be able to trust that your
attorney understands this and is willing to do what it takes to help you
achieve your goals.
Costs of a family law case in Texas
When you are trying to figure out
costs of your potential child support enforcement case it is necessary to consider that you are about to incur costs that are
beyond merely signing up with an attorney and paying a
retainer fee. Filing your case in Harris, Montgomery, Ft. Bend or any other county
in southeast Texas will cost a few hundred dollars at least. This is true
whether it is our office that ends up working for you or another attorney
Once your petition is filed in court your attorney will likely utilize
a private process server to seek out your ex-spouse and provide notice
that there is now a pending enforcement suit in
This too, while likely not as expensive as filing the suit, will cost money.
You can ask your potential attorney in an interview what sort of plan
he or she has for serving your ex-spouse so that your case does not endure
any needless delays. It is extremely frustrating to hire an attorney,
file your case only to find that your attorney is unable to serve your
From my experience, there is little need in a child support enforcement case for
mediation. Mediation is the process that you likely went through for your divorce
where you and your ex-spouse met with your attorneys at an independent
attorney’s office to attempt to settle your disputes prior to a trial.
This means negotiating with the assistance of the mediator and ultimately
signing what is known as a
Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) once a settlement is hopefully reached. This process takes the place
of a trial. Mediation costs typically between $300 and $500 (in the Houston
area) for a half day mediation, but can save you thousands if you consider
how much a trial would have cost in your divorce.
Child support enforcement cases don’t really function like a divorce case. There is less to negotiate
upon because the issues are much more minute. Are you owed child support?
Has your ex-spouse paid the support to as stated in your
Final Decree of Divorce? What does the Attorney General’s ledger show as far as arrearages?
These are much more matter of fact questions that need to be answered,
and the opportunity to negotiate is not as great.
Initiating the Child Support Enforcement Lawsuit
In the beginning stages of a
child support enforcement case, you are paying a down payment, also known as a retainer, to your attorney.
This retainer fee can range from $2,000 on up to $10,000 depending on
the attorney you are hiring.
As we stated earlier the filing fees in most Texas counties is approximately
$300, not including copies for service and filing. Finally, a process
server will likely cost roughly $100 for you and your attorney to utilize
Preparing for Trial and Negotiating a Settlement
In an enforcement case, there is no true “middle” of a case.
Once your enforcement is filed and your ex-spouse responds with an Answer
you and he/she are either going to each prepare for Trial or work towards
a settlement of your case.
I had a child support enforcement case about eighteen months ago in which
our client and the opposing party were able to work out a settlement rather
quickly where preparation for trial was not even needed. It ended up that
the opposing client had simply misinterpreted the final decree of divorce
and stopped paying child support too early. The misunderstanding was resolved,
a payment plan was conceived for the back child support owed and no trial was had.
On the other hand, I have also represented a child support client where
it took us until the day before a trial to settle the case and work out
a plan that would avoid a costly lawsuit. Indeed, preparing for a full-fledged
trial and then appearing in court will be the most costly aspect of your
enforcement case if it comes to that. If you can avoid a trial it is typically
for the best due to the costs and risks associated with this final step.
Additional questions about the costs of a child support enforcement case?
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you are in need of experienced, strong and effective advocates for your
child support related enforcement case I would recommend that you
Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our attorneys represent clients in enforcement cases regularly and have
achieved successful results in doing so.
A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed
family law attorneys is only a phone call away. We schedule consultations six days a week in
our office and we would be honored to speak with you about the services
that we can provide to you and your family.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Family Law Enforcement Hearings: Agreements to Settle and Trial
- Reviewing your case history is crucial to success in an enforcement case
- Texas Family Law Court: Enforcement Actions
- How much will your child support enforcement case cost?
- The Steps of an Enforcement Case in Texas family law court
- Preparing for an Enforcement case in Texas
- Defending against an Enforcement Action in Texas
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Five
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Four
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Three
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law, Part Two
- Enforcement Suits in Texas Family Law: An Overview
- Child Support Enforcement Defense - Act Sooner Rather than Later
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Enforcement Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
order enforcement, it's important to speak with one of our
Houston, TX EnforcementLawyers right away to protect your rights.
enforcement lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
enforcement cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and