Some of the most frequently asked questions we hear as Texas divorce lawyers are related to the finanicial impact of divorce. It’s no secret that divorce is expensive, not the least reason why being that you’ll be going from (most likely) a two-income household to a one-income household; you will have to buy new things, move into a new residence, and otherwise start a new life on your own (which can be costly). There are significant legal fees involved in divorce, as well, which is probably the primary contributor to how expensive divorce can get.
Before you move forward, it’s important to know what to expect, both for your own peace of mind and for your budget so you can plan ahead. Hembree Bell Law has over 30 years of combined experience on our team as well as personal experience with the divorce and custody process. While every divorce is different, and we can’t tell you in this blog post exactly how much your divorce will cost without meeting with you and finding out more about your case, what we can do is use our experience and knowledge to explain why divorce can be so expensive legally, and tell you about a few of the many different factors that may affect the overall amount you will pay.
Here are 4 factors that may have the biggest bearing on how much your divorce will cost:
1 – The Reason For Your Divorce
Texas is a state where the grounds for your divorce can matter, if you or your spouse wants them too. They don’t have to, though – all you really need to get divorced in Texas is to cite “insupportability”, or irreconcilable differences. If you and your spouse have simply drifted apart, or can’t stop fighting, or no longer are able to reconcile and live well together, you can get a divorce. If there were other, bigger reasons for your divorce, such as adultery, you can also cite insupportability – you don’t have to claim wrongdoing even if it happened. Texas has two other “no fault” grounds for divorce, which are living apart for three years or more or one spouse being confined to a mental. The four “fault” grounds for divorce in Texas are cruelty, adultery, abandonment, and felony conviction.
Here’s why all of this is relevant to you – no fault divorces are way cheaper than fault divorces, because fault divorces essentially work like a lawsuit. An accusation is made, and both sides must defend their claims in court; there needs to be documentation and evidence, witnesses, potential investigations, etc. No fault divorces, on the other hand, the reason is simply accepted and that accusation stage is skipped entirely, saving time (including time in the courtroom) and money.
2 – How Many Competing Interests Exist (Including Children)
Another factor that will affect how much your divorce will cost is how many things you and your spouse disagree on – what level of conflict exists, and what you both ahve to decide on. The more intense the disagreement, and/or the more things you have to disagree about, the longer it will take to sort through (or fight through) those issues to arrive at the best resolution, and the more legal fees you’ll incur along the way.
Do you have kids? Do you own a business, or have interests in a business? Are there multiple real-estate properties that were owned by one or both of you? Do you and your spouse have really unequal incomes (or is one of you a stay at home parent)? Are you both particularly wealthy/have accumulated a lot of wealth during the marriage? If none of this applies to you, or if you agree on pretty much how things should be divided, then you can expect your divorce to be much cheaper.
3 – How Much You & Your Spouse Are Willing & Able To Cooperate With Each Other
Even if your divorce does involve many of those contentious issues, it doesn’t mean that you and your spouse can’t still decide to be mature, set aside your differences, and work together to find the best solutions (in most cases). Mediation or uncontested divorces or collaborative divorces are those where you and your spouse negotiate how your property, debts, and children will be divided. You both control how the terms are set and the outcome. Once an agreement is made, you can present that to a judge or family court that will normally approve your plan.
Besides the added benefit of keeping your future in your hands, rather than the hands of a judge or system who doesn’t know you and your family dynamics, a collaborative approach is less expensive than fighting back and forth with lawyers for months or having to go to court. That’s not to say it won’t be hard or that it will be “cheap” – divorce will still cost you, even if you can keep things amicable and make compromises, but you will save thousands of dollars in the long run. However, if your spouse is unwilling to work with you, or refuses to act like an adult, there isn’t much you can do, and you may have to resort to entering a legal battle.
4 – The Level Of Legal Representation You Have On Your Side
A major factor when it comes to divorce cost is what attorney or law firm you have representing you. While hiring a lawyer is one of the most expensive categories in divorce, it’s also one of the most important – the right lawyer can actually help you cut down on costs in many ways. They can explain all of your options so you are empowered to take the path that may be the most cost-effective for you; they can use their legal knowledge to make collaboration less of a hassle for you, and resolve it more quickly; they can stand up for you if a legal battle does have to ensue and protect your rights and your money.
Want To Learn More About Divorce And Finances? Call Hembree Bell Law Firm Today.
If you work with Hembree Bell, we will assign the best qualified but most cost-effective person to each task needed to move your case forward in order to cut down on overall expenses. You may end up working with our talented paralegals often, which is great for you because they have much lower billing rates than our attorneys.
Our Texas divorce and family law firm can explain how much you can expect to pay for your divorce based on these factors and others during a free, no-obligation consultation – you can call to schedule yours right now!
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