How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost?

Most people understand that the process of getting divorced presents a substantial expense. Between dividing assets, calculating child support or spousal support payments, and even reconfiguring your personal life and habits, there is a great deal of financial adjustment necessary when you transition from marriage to being single again. Perhaps one of the most significant expenses is your attorney.

Having a good attorney on your side is key to a smooth divorce process and a successful divorce agreement that meets your needs. As a result, it is worth investing in high quality legal representation that will ensure you are ready to begin your new life after divorce. However, it is also important to make sure you can afford your attorney.

Though each attorney is different, it may be helpful to assess average divorce attorney’s fees as a starting point. There are many factors that go into these fees, including experience level, track record, firm recognition, and more. Here, we have answered some frequently asked questions regarding divorce attorney costs.

Q. What Is the Hourly Rate for a Divorce Attorney? 

The vast majority of attorneys charge between $200 and $300 per hour. Very few charge $100 or less, and about 20% charge $400 or more. Your attorney should be able to quote you an hourly rate after learning more about your case during a personal consultation. However, it is important to remember that the total amount of hours your attorney will work to resolve your case depends heavily on the situation. 

Q. How Much Can I Expect to Pay for My Divorce Attorney? 

Hourly rates mean very little if you don’t know how long your case is going to take. The median attorney fees for a divorce are about $7,000. However, if your case involves aggravating factors like child support litigation or an exceptionally large amount of assets, your attorney will need to bill you for more hours.

It is important to remember that your attorney will not be the only court-related expense in your divorce. You will also incur court costs, filing fees, and numerous other expenses associated with divorce. The median price for these additional expenses rests around $500.

Q. Do I Have to Go to Court? 

Contrary to popular belief, your divorce does not need to be litigated completely in court. In fact, avoiding litigation is one way to reduce the fees associated with divorce. In many situations, mediation involving both spouses and their respective divorce attorneys, overseen by a third-party mediator, can help address issues without the need for litigation.

It is important to note that mediation does not sidestep all fees associated with court. A judge still has to approve the finalized divorce decree, and there may be filing fees and other fees associated with making your divorce official. You will also still have to pay your attorney for the hours spent in mediation, though the process is usually shorter than litigation.

Q. What Causes Some Divorces to Last Longer Than Others?

There are some circumstances that make some divorces last longer than others. Some factors that lengthen the divorce process include: 

  • Child custody 
  • Child support
  • Debt
  • Property division
  • Out of state moves
  • Joint business ownership

Therefore, the most expedient divorces occur between two people without children or mutual real estate property, and without blended finances or debt. However, the majority of marriages feature at least one of the above issues.

Q. What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorce is a dissolution of marriage when both spouses agree to the divorce and the terms set forth in the initial filing. When divorces are uncontested, the process is almost always much shorter. Uncontested divorces are more rare for couples with a long history together and few assets to divide. Most uncontested divorces are couples who: 

  • Were married five years or less
  • Have minimal debt
  • Do not have children
  • Don’t need alimony or spousal support
  • Don’t have significant investment holdings
  • Don’t have more than $6,000 in debt

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does summarize the general characteristics of couples who can use uncontested divorce to expedite the process and reduce fees. However, it is important to note that in order for a divorce to be uncontested, the reason for divorce must be “irreconcilable differences.”

Q. What if I Can’t Afford an Attorney?

If you are unable to afford the services of an attorney for your divorce, you may appeal to the court to ask for a court-appointed attorney. The court will ask for official proof of your financial status before appointing you a lawyer free of charge. However, keep in mind that these attorneys are overloaded with cases. They have very little time to spend on each individual case and may be unable to provide the same level of services as a privately funded divorce attorney. For that reason, it is always best to invest in a divorce attorney if you have the funds. 

Contact the Love DuCote Law Firm

For high quality representation in your Katy, Houston, Sugar Land, Harris County, or Fort Bend County, Texas divorce, look to the experts at The Love DuCote Law Firm. With decades of experience, our skilled family law attorneys have experienced numerous cases similar to your own and secured satisfactory divorce agreements for each client. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.