Arriving at a decision to file for divorce is not easy. You likely have taken a great deal of time to consider your options and whether or not moving forward with a divorce is the right choice for you and your family. All of our marital circumstances are unique and the reasons for wanting a divorce are just as varied. Consider that, in Texas, you can file for divorce for any reason or none at all. I will jokingly tell clients that you can file for divorce in Texas because your spouse abandoned you or because you don’t like the way he chews he meatloaf. What I mean by that is the reason for your divorce could be something significant or it could be something trivial that has built up in importance over the course of time.
Once you have decided that a divorce is right for you the next thought that you probably had was how in the world are you going to pay for the divorce? Who is going to represent you? How are you going to talk to your children about this decision? These are relevant and wise questions to ask yourself before you start the process of filing for divorce. One thing is certain in Texas: if you file for divorce and complete the steps as laid out in the law you will get a divorce. It’s just a matter of how painful the process is and how many of your goals you are able to accomplish.
Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will detail the costs associated with a Texas divorce. By costs, I do not merely mean money related issues. Your family is due to suffer some cost of your divorce as well and we will go into those issues as well.
Money, Money, Money
You pay for what you get, as the old saying goes. The immediate financial costs of your divorce will depend largely on the sort of divorce you have and the attorney that you select to represent you. If you have a divorce case where you have a significant amount of issues related to your children and your property to sort out your divorce is likely to take longer. The longer a case takes to complete the more expensive it will be. Family law attorneys bill by the hour so as more hours need to spent working on your case, the more he or she will charge you.
On the other hand, if you don’t have children or property to divide then your divorce can be relatively inexpensive due to the lack of issues that could cloud the case and delay its completion. In either case, there are still costs associated with filing a divorce that can run anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending upon the county that you are filing in.
If you are like most people, however, your case will fall somewhere in between these two extremes. The fact is that most of us don’t have 10 kids and three houses to consider in our divorce, but at the same time we don’t have no kids and no property either. You can count on at least two mediation sessions which can cost $400 per party for each session in order to resolve outstanding issues prior to trial. While you may balk at the cost of mediation, consider the costs of its alternative- trial.
A trial is a surefire way to expand the costs of your divorce by a factor of two or three. Some attorneys anticipate the costs of a trial by asking for a second retainer (down payment) in order to secure their services further. The fact is that a divorce trial can last multiple days and takes weeks to prepare for. The cost of trying a case and preparing for a trial will likely cost more than the rest of your case combined.
What this all should tell you is that if you are not able to settle your case with your spouse you will pay handsomely for the privilege of attending a trial in your divorce case. While you cannot put a dollar value on achieving your goals you should think long and hard about what you are trying to achieve in your divorce.
Costs of your divorce on your family
As I noted in the introduction to this blog post, there are financial costs of divorce and there are also “soft costs” of divorce that affect the people that are closest to you. First and foremost you have to consider the cost to your children. Your children depend upon you and your spouse to present an image of what it takes to be a successful, diligent and engaged person. So much of who you are is wrapped up in your marriage- for better and worse. If you decide that a divorce is necessary so much of who you are is going to change that your child may feel for a short time that he or she does not know who he or she is. I don’t think this is an exaggerated statement to make. You will need to tell your children time and time again that you and your spouse love them and that this is not going to change no matter what happens in your divorce.
On top of the emotional well-being of your children it is likely that their home life will change as well. You or your spouse may move out of the family home to seek shelter elsewhere. Depending on the circumstances and finances of your family your children may need to move as well if one parent cannot afford the payments (rent or mortgage) on the family home. This can create a very difficult situation for a child who has come to know one house for the duration of their life. A lot of change in a relatively short period of time can be hard to process- especially for young children.
Next, consider how your extended family will be impacted by your case. These folks are going to be limited by how much they are able to see your children moving forward. If, for example, your child lives primarily with your ex-spouse, your family will be only able to see your child on a limited basis when you are in possession of him or her. Your parents probably won’t be able to stop by and visit with their grandchild after school at their other parent’s house. This can take a lot of time to get used to.
Choosing the right attorney makes all the difference
Ultimately, the attorney that you choose to hire for your divorce can have a significant impact on the costs of your case. For one, if you choose an attorney who helps you to achieve your goals then it is likely that you won’t find spending a few extra dollars. In the long run, the end result of your divorce will stay with you longer than the memory of paying whatever it is that you had to pay to achieve the result you wanted.
Secondly, an experienced family law attorney will know how to promote an expedient end to your case. Many attorneys who do not practice family law make mistakes or are unaware of issues and processes that can either speed up or slow down your case. Hiring an attorney who not only practices family law can make a huge difference and can determine just how much money escapes your wallet in paying for an attorney.
Questions about the likely cost of your divorce? Contact our office today
If you are interested in learning more about your divorce and what it may end up costing you, I recommend that you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys six days a week. It is an honor to serve and represent people just like you that live in our community. Thank you for your time and interest in today’s topic and we hope you will join us tomorrow as well.