The cost of a divorce in Austin is largely driven by how much conflict there is in the case. For “agreed” divorces in which both spouses have an agreement on property division, custody, etc and simply need an attorney to draft legal documents reflecting their agreement, the total cost can be under $2,000.
When someone files for divorce, there is a filing fee simply for initiating marriage dissolution. Once a divorce petition is filed, the fee is between $200 and $350 depending on whether it is a divorce with children or without children. Our dedicated attorneys could work to effectively negotiate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and keep the cost of your case down.
Factors that Increase Divorce Costs
As far as how much a divorce could ultimately cost on the high end, that is really impossible to predict because there are so many different factors that go into the costs of the case. One cost factor is how much discovery is involved in the case. The longer the marriage, generally the more discovery that is going to be conducted because there are more years to go back and look through.
If someone is asking for two years of bank statements versus seven years of bank statements, that has an impact on cost. If one spouse alleges that the other had an affair, they need to prove that affair. This means they may need to hire a private investigator or they may need to conduct more discovery than they would if that were not a factor in the case—requesting phone records, text messages with the alleged paramour, photos of the paramour, social media postings, for example. If there is a dispute over child custody, the court may need to appoint someone to conduct a child custody evaluation, which can add $5,000 to $7,000 to the cost of a divorce case in Austin.
If one of the spouses is a business owner and they have to hire a forensic accountant to value the business, that can cost an additional $5,000 to $7,000 just to do the initial valuation, and then the spouse has to pay that person for their hourly rate if they need to come to court to testify about their findings and support and defend whatever valuation they prepared.
All of these factors in addition to the attorney’s fees can make a case exceedingly expensive. There is really no limit to what a divorce can cost. In general, the more people fight, the more contentious the case is, the more one spouse is not cooperative in responding to discovery or complying with court orders, the more a case is going to cost.
Who is Responsible for Covering these Costs?
When determining which parties may be responsible for covering the costs of a divorce case in Austin, the court can look to whatever community assets are available to pay for lawyers and litigation expenses. Individuals cannot assume that any one spouse is going to be responsible for covering these fees because in a divorce, all community funds belong as much to one spouse as they do to the other. If the husband is in control of the majority of the community assets and there is enough money there to pay both lawyers, then the court can order that spouse to pay all the fees.
By contrast, if the wife is the one who is in control of the bulk of the marital assets and the liquid money that is available to pay lawyers, then the court can order the wife to be responsible for paying for the divorce and the litigation expenses. Some spouses have family members or friends who are willing to loan the money. The court cannot order those people to front the litigation expenses, but that is often a source of funds in a divorce case if one spouse has the ability to borrow or there’s just not enough money in the community for them to pay their own lawyer.
Speak with an Austin Attorney to Discuss the Costs of a Divorce
The cost of a divorce in Austin does not have to be extreme. If you can amicably work through the issues of your case with your spouse, you may be able to keep fees low. For more information, speak with one of our legal professionals today.