- Average cost of divorce in Texas
- Key facts about the cost of divorce
- Type of divorce and costs
- How much does it cost to file?
- How does a divorce lawyer cost?
- Factors that impact the cost
- Cost-effective divorce options
On average, a Texas divorce without children costs about $15,600, and one with children costs about $23,500. These numbers come from journalists parsing data from across the United States, and they say Texas is one of the most expensive places to divorce.
Your Texas divorce costs are influenced by complexity (including children), collaboration (or combativeness), and willingness to work together.
In general, the closer you can work with your partner and handle the details yourself, the more money and time you will save during the divorce process.
Here's what you need to know:
What is the average cost of divorce in Texas?
As mentioned, the average Texas divorce costs between $15,600 and $23,500, depending on the presence (or absence) of children. With children, there are more details to be worked out. This increases the time and work involved as well as the associated costs.
It’s tempting to enter these fees into your divorce budget, but it's important to recognize that averages have limitations. Your split could cost much more or less depending on factors unique to your marriage, estate, and future plans. Make smart choices, and your fees will go down. Make mistakes, and you’ll pay more.
Key facts about the cost of divorce in Texas
- Texas is considered the fifth most expensive state for divorce, per a nationwide survey.
- The average family law lawyer in Texas makes 3% less than the national average.
- Counties in Texas set their own court fees, so your filing costs can vary depending on where you live.
- Texas allows people to represent themselves in court, but this route is typically only recommended for simple divorces. If you can resolve your divorce with mediation, you can avoid court altogether.
Read: A Beginner's Guide to Divorce Mediation
Type of divorce and your costs
Texas offers two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested. Of all the factors that will influence your final cost, this is among the most important. Opting to work with your partner in an uncontested divorce tends to be less expensive.
Cost of uncontested divorce in Texas
In an uncontested divorce, you agree with your partner on how to split your estate, raise your children, and more. An uncontested divorce doesn't mean you have a close and loving relationship with your ex. But it does mean that you are able to wind down your marriage without significant outside help.
An uncontested divorce in Texas could cost you little more than your filing fees. If you use mediators or lawyers to help you work through minor disagreements, you will pay a little more, though the cost of a mediator will be significantly lower than the cost of a lawyer.
Cost of a contested divorce in Texas
In a contested divorce, you and your spouse can’t agree on some or all of your divorce details. You go to court to discuss those differences and ask a judge to decide for you.
In a traditional contested divorce, both parties hire lawyers to present in front of the judge and ask outsiders to testify to support the case. Nationally, divorce cases like this cost at least $7,000. Your Texas version could cost much more.
How much does it cost to file for divorce in Texas?
In the Texas legal system, counties can set filing fees. Prosperous counties could charge more than their neighbors, and that's considered normal.
On average, people pay between $250 to $350 to file initial divorce papers with the Texas court system.
How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Texas?
Researchers say the average family lawyer in Texas makes about $127,500 per year. That amount is about 3% lower than the national average.
An average lawyer could do a fine job on your divorce, but some people feel more comfortable with legal experts with years of expertise. A senior lawyer can charge more. On average, a senior lawyer in Texas makes about $158,700.
Some lawyers create divorce packages that bundle all fees into one price. Others use a per-hour system, resulting in a much higher bill for cases that take longer.
Factors that impact the cost of a Texas divorce
Understanding what goes into the final cost of a divorce can help you make smart decisions that could help you save money. These are the typical factors that could raise or lower the price of your divorce in Texas:
Serving your spouse
You fill out paperwork to begin the divorce process and must give copies to your spouse. Per Texas law, you can't hand those documents to your spouse. You must serve them using an impartial third party, which typically comes with fees.
Your spouse can waive the service requirement by filling out a form in front of a notary. This step saves both of you money and time.
Level of agreement
Arguments take time to resolve, and if you can't work with your partner, you must hire someone to help. The more items you disagree about, the more you'll pay to facilitate the split to have someone help you come to an agreement.
Working closely with your partner can help your divorce move quickly with fewer associated fees. It’s hard to put aside past feelings and disagreements, but it’s worth it to save time, money, and stress throughout the divorce process.
Complexity of your estate
The more detailed your estate, the more potential points of conflict. If you share children, businesses, rental properties, retirement accounts, or other assets, your divorce will likely cost more than simple and straightforward divorces.
Cost-effective divorce options
You're not required to pay a high price for your divorce. The following four options could help you save money:
1. DIY divorce
Per Texas law, you can represent yourself in court. A pro se divorce means you handle any divorce hearings without legal representation, and you file all the paperwork yourself, too.
Using this method means cutting out in-court lawyer fees, which could help you save money.
2. Short-term legal help
You don't need to hire a lawyer to walk you through the entire divorce process. You can ask a professional to help you with one or two items you don't feel comfortable handling alone.
A process like this can cost you more than handling the entire divorce alone. But it could be a helpful way to work through issues that make you uncomfortable.
3. Online divorce
Companies like Hello Divorce can help you understand necessary Texas paperwork, and if you need outside help, these companies can connect you with trusted professionals. These options can be relatively inexpensive when compared to hiring an entire legal team.
You may have just one or two small items standing between you and a hassle-free divorce. Perhaps you can't agree on child-related arrangements. Or perhaps there's one asset (like the family home) you both want. Mediation can help.
Experts say mediation takes less time than court cases and allows for easier solutions. Mediators can also help you preserve your relationship so you can continue to work together after your divorce. This is particularly important if you have children together.
At Hello Divorce, we offer mediation services to help people work through difficult divorces. Mediation works, and it provides the best path forward for many people.
Have Questions About Divorce? Don't Know Where to Start?
ReferencesThe Cost of Divorce: How Much Do You Pay to Get Divorced in California vs. Colorado? (January 2020). USA Today.
Family Lawyer, Texas. Salary Expert.
Court Fees and Fee Waivers. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in 2023? (July 2022). Forbes.
How to Serve the Initial Divorce Papers. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
Pro Se Divorce Handbook: Activating the Courage to Represent Yourself. (January 2023). TexasLawHelp.org.
Advantages of Mediation. U.S. Office of Special Counsel.