Texas Divorce Cost
There are many different potential costs that could arise for couples who divorce in Texas. The least expensive is a no-fault divorce, in which a couple agrees on all the terms of their separation, including:
- Alimony payments
- Child support payments
- Division of mutual property
If both spouses can come to an agreement, they can submit a written plan along with a divorce petition. When both parties agree, there is no need for a lawyer to help them resolve their differences or represent them in court, thus minimizing expense.
However, there will still be expenses involved when filing a petition for divorce with the court. The fees vary county by county but generally come to around $250. This lump sum will actually be composed of many different fees, which could include:
A dispute resolution fee
- A fee for the court reporter
- Covering the expenses of digital archiving for court records
- A filing fee
If there are minors involved in the case, the filing cost may be greater. Whatever the fee, it must be paid when a divorce petition is filed in order for the case to proceed.
Couples who are unable to agree on the conditions of their divorce do not necessarily incur additional costs. Instead of submitting to a judge’s ruling, court-supervised sessions will be set to try to help both sides reach an agreement. These services are already included in the costs of your filing fee.
At any point, either one or both spouses may decide that they are unable to negotiate with their partner and must seek private legal advice. In some situations, this means that partners can agree to try a mediated or conciliated divorce. In essence, this entails paying a lawyer to assist both parties in negotiating a mutually acceptable separation agreement. While it is up to the couple to decide how to split the fees of this process, if no agreement is achieved, both spouses will no longer be represented by the same lawyer.
If one or both spouses decide they need to hire private legal counsel to represent them in court-supervised mediation proceedings or before a family court judge, the cost could be substantial. Most lawyers who provide these services typically charge by the hour. You are rare to find a divorce lawyer who will work for less than $125 per hour.
If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce proceeding, be sure you know exactly how much your projected costs will be during your initial appointment. Divorce cases follow a set timeframe, so you should be able to acquire an accurate estimate of how many hours of legal services you will be responsible for. Obtain a formal estimate that details each fee and ensures you understand your payment schedule.
If you’re in Houston take a look at our list of the Top Divorce Attorneys in Houston
Texas Child Support
Child support in Texas differs greatly from those of other states. For one thing, even if the custodial parent has health insurance, the non-custodial parent is compelled to furnish it. This is not taken into account when calculating child support. Wage garnishment is required by Texas law in order to ensure that payments are made.
Child support is calculated based on the number of children, with 20% for one child and up to 45% for six or more. Kid support is terminated when the child attains emancipation, marries, or reaches the age of 18. For nonpayment of child support, Texas officials will revoke licenses and seize property and lottery prizes. Non-custodial parents have the right to see their children, and if the parents cannot agree on a visitation schedule, the court will make a decision.
Spousal Support Cost Texas
In Texas, the guidelines for spousal support are fairly tight. In most circumstances, spousal support in Texas is only paid if there was domestic violence during the marriage or if the marriage lasted more than ten years. Support is likewise limited to $5,000 monthly increments or 20% of the supporting spouse’s adjusted monthly income. Different sorts of child support will be granted in Texas based on the supported spouse’s ability to care for themselves, the ability to care for a disabled kid, or the inability to produce a sufficient wage. Depending on the conditions, the spouse may be eligible for the following benefits:
This is given if the income of the helped spouse is much lower than that of the other spouse. This is the most prevalent sort of assistance in Texas, and it allows both spouses to maintain a respectable quality of life.
This form of support is not always granted in Texas, but if the spouse made significant contributions to the other spouse’s education, occupational training, or improved wage, a judge may authorize it.
In Texas, this maintenance would be applied if there is evidence of domestic abuse or other comparable behavior during the marriage. In Texas, spousal assistance pays for rehabilitation, counseling services, and vocational and/or educational training.
During the pre-trial stage, this sort of maintenance is awarded to either spouse on a non-permanent basis.
What can affect spousal support in Texas?
The following factors influence the unique spousal support calculation in Texas. A court may opt to estimate both spouses’ monthly adjusted gross income based on the factors listed below and then apply the formula. However, a judge in Texas has the authority to disregard the formula and determine the appropriate amount of spousal support. The following considerations will influence spousal support in Texas:
- Does each spouse have or not have the ability to maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce?
- What employment and educational skills does each spouse have?
- Has either spouse significantly contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, professional skills, and/or increased earnings?
- What is the proper amount of time for the supported spouse to obtain education or employment and become self-supportive?
- What is the age, employment history, and health of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce?
- Can the supporting spouse provide for both the other spouse and a child?
- Was either spouse involved in large expenditures during the marriage?
- What joint marital property is each spouse entitled to?
- How much has each spouse contributed to improving the home during the time of the marriage?
- Has either spouse ever committed adultery, sexual abuse, or harassment during the marriage? Has the spouse ever sexually or physically abused any of the children?
How Can I find forms for Spousal Support around Texas?
Although the state does not provide legal documentation for those seeking self-representation, it does give a form for spouses involved in spousal support. The Order to Employer to Withhold Support form is used to withhold payments from your income in order to provide support. This document must be submitted to the Court Clerk, and the amount withheld must be sent to the Texas State Disbursement Unit, P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, TX 78265.
How to File for Divorce in Texas
Divorce is never easy, but understanding the divorce process might help make it easier. If you are attempting to file for divorce in Texas, this guide can provide a step-by-step review of the procedure to ensure that you understand all of the stages involved.
1. Fill Out and File Paperwork
To file for divorce in Texas, you must first complete a divorce petition. A petition for divorce is the legal document that initiates the divorce process and is required for any divorcing spouse.
The petition will request information about you, your spouse, your marriage, and (if applicable) your children. In the petition, you must state whether you have any pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements that may affect the divorce, as well as the grounds for the divorce.
Most people today use “no-fault” reasons, claiming that their marriage is simply irreparably damaged. If you intend to allege fault reasons, such as infidelity or desertion, your divorce will very certainly take much longer and cost much more.
After you have completed the petition, you must present it to your local district clerk. To petition for divorce in Texas, you must pay a filing fee. When the clerk files your papers, the divorce procedure begins.
2. Serve Your Spouse
You must officially notify your spouse that you are divorcing after filing for divorce in Texas. Your word isn’t enough—you’ll need to “service” them with court documentation to officially “serve” them. This is normally accomplished by engaging the sheriff’s office or a private process server, which is a low-cost method.
3. Temporary Hearing
Divorce will determine how your assets are distributed, but the divorce procedure in Texas might take months after you file. During the divorce process, you may require interim solutions to meet your needs. There will be a temporary hearing to determine temporary child support or custody, temporary spousal support, or temporary use of the marital residence.
4. Settlement or Trial
You may prefer to settle out of court rather than go to trial after filing for divorce in Texas and going through the preliminary hearing. Trials are costly and emotionally draining, and they rarely produce materially different outcomes than divorce settlements. As a result, most couples prefer to settle after filing for divorce in Texas.
Before your case gets to trial, the divorce court judge may try to help you reach an out-of-court settlement by sending you to mediation or holding an informal pre-trial conference to resolve unresolved concerns. Couples often go to trial only if these measures fail. If a trial is required, the divorce will not be finalized until the trial is completed and a divorce order is signed.