How Much Does Divorce Cost? 

Family Lawyers

While it is difficult to give an exact number for the price of any divorce, the process is generally costly. A 2020 USA Today article put the average cost of divorce without children in Texas at $15,600 and the average cost of divorce with children at $23,500. However, costs can vary wildly between individual cases. What the end-of-day price tag will be ultimately depends on the people involved and how much legal work needs to be done. 

Divorce attorneys generally work on an hourly retainer. An attorney will request an initial amount from the client upfront (likely several thousand dollars) and use those funds to set up an account with the law firm. As the legal professionals involved with the client’s case work on it, their hourly rates are applied to the account. In the (perhaps unlikely) situation that the case is closed before those funds are exhausted, any remaining money is returned to the client. However, it is more common for additional funds to be required to replenish the retainer and facilitate further legal work. Some law firms offer financing to accommodate cost-conscious clients. 

Perhaps the biggest determiner of price is whether a divorce is uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, the divorcing spouses agree on every aspect of the divorce terms, while contested divorces require negotiation. Contested divorces usually end up in court, while uncontested divorces have a better chance of avoiding that process. Due to the limited amount of legal work necessary for uncontested divorces, they are relatively straightforward and inexpensive. It is common for attorneys to handle uncontested divorces on a much more affordable flat fee basis, as opposed to an hourly retainer. 

Other determining factors are the financial situation of the divorcing couple and whether there are shared children. Larger estates, involving property or large sums of money, are more complex and generally necessitate more legal work. Additionally, it can be more difficult for the divorcing couple to reach an agreement in such situations. Custody and child support are also contentious topics that can easily rack up thousands in legal fees. 

Level-headedness, communication, and compromise not only make a divorce easier to emotionally navigate, but keeps costs down. Divorces with minimal back-and-forth and minimal court involvement are easier on the pocketbook. Still, a family law attorney’s input, such as that provided by experienced family lawyers at Brandy Austin Law Firm, can make sure that amenability is balanced by fairness and justified self-interest.