Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful things a person can do. In addition to the breakup of a household, many people find themselves essentially going through the process alone. Fortunately, with the right divorce lawyer, you do not have to bear the entire burden of the divorce process. Your attorney can walk you through it and provide you with accurate advice on how to handle the many situations that can and do arise. In addition to the divorce itself, having an attorney represent you costs money. While there is no way to avoid paying, you’ll be in a much better frame of mind if you know in advance the range of fees that will be charged.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about finding an attorney in the Houston area to represent you in your divorce case, and how to deal with the cost of getting a divorce:
Q: How do I find the best Houston divorce lawyer for my case?
A: Know what your goals are at the outset. Then interview one or more family law attorneys, discuss those goals, and find a lawyer with the knowledge and experience you need. You do not have to hire the first lawyer you see. When making your choice, think about issues of communication, experience, and legal knowledge in divorce matters. It is often helpful to ask friends for referrals to a good lawyer they have used or who is known in the community.
Q: How much do divorce lawyers cost?
A: There is no pat answer to this question. Most lawyers will charge an hourly rate, but if your case is relatively simple (for example, no custody or monetary disputes), some attorneys will charge a flat fee. You can expect the hourly rate to be hundreds of dollars per hour.
Q: I don’t have money for a retainer. How can I hire a lawyer to represent me in my divorce.?
A: Many lawyers offer payment plans that are geared to people who are unable to come up with large sums of money at the outset of their case. If you are one of those people, discuss the issue when you interview the lawyer. But remember, lawyers are not banks or lending institutions, so in some cases you should seek retainer funds from friends/family and then make arrangements to pay back their loan. It is also possible to ask the court to order your spouse to pay for interim attorney fees.
Q: How much is a retainer in a Houston divorce case?
A: The amount of the retainer will depend at least in part upon the complexity of the case. Also, different attorneys charge different amounts. You can generally expect the retainer to be in the range of $2,500 to $20,000 although it will vary from lawyer to lawyer.
Q: How much does it cost for a Texas divorce if both parties agree.
A: Although there are companies that will charge you a nominal amount for the forms necessary to file for an uncontested divorce, there are potential pitfalls. They include the fact that you may be missing an issue, whether monetary, relating to your children, or other matters that could arise later. The divorce filling fees in Texas are in the range of $300. In some cases, you may be entitled to a waiver of filing fees. If you hire an attorney for the uncontested divorce, you may, depending upon the lawyer, be charged an hourly rate or a flat rate. Unfortunately, often one spouse may think there is an agreement, but then the wheels come off the bus.
Q: How long do you have to be separated before you can file for divorce in Texas?
A: There is no separation period required if a Texas resident seeks a divorce. However, a divorce cannot be final until at least 60 days – known as the “cooling off period” – after the filing and service of the petition.
Q: How much does it cost for a divorce in Texas?
A: It could cost as little as $1,500 or as much as many thousands of dollars. Every case is different, and the specifics of the cases and the issues in dispute will often determine just how expensive the divorce process will be.
Q: How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas if both parties agree?
A: The minimum time is 60 days from the filing of the petition for divorce. Very few divorces will be accomplished within that time frame, however. The reason is that all issues must be agreed upon, including some you and your spouse may not have even considered. In the best case, it still will likely take several months at least before a judge will scheduled a time for your petition to be heard.
If you have questions about the divorce process in Houston, contact Houston family law attorney Mary Quinn at 713-225-0094.