Divorce is one of the most stressful events a person can experience, and having to navigate the legal process behind it does not reduce such anxiety. A divorce is an emotional experience no matter the circumstances.
In addition to the emotional turmoil and tough decisions you will have to make, divorces can be quite costly. Fortunately, the Law Office of Chris Schmiedeke is happy to help you maneuver this stressful process with family law legal services that simplify divorce.
The cost of a divorce lawyer in Texas varies quite a bit depending on the nature of your divorce. On average, a Texas divorce costs about $15,600 if there are not any children involved. If custody is a part of the divorce, that average price rises to $23,500. In general, the cost of a divorce increases based on how much you and your spouse disagree.
The average divorce lawyer in the state of Texas costs about $260 to $320 per hour, and those hours accumulate quickly when you and your spouse have to make arrangements for custody and property divisions. That alone can be quite complicated, especially when working out factors like visitation schedules.
Filing for divorce in Texas has a few requirements of which you should be aware before moving forward. First, you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least the last six months. Additionally, you or your spouse must have lived in the county in which you filed for divorce for at least the last 90 days. The only exception to this is if you are outside of Texas for military service, but that time still counts if your home state is Texas.
A flat fee divorce is a divorce in which the fee is fixed and known to the people involved after the initial consultation with a summation of all the costs upfront. With a flat fee, which includes filing fees, you will not have to worry about any unexpected expenses and can enjoy a relatively affordable divorce. Because of this, it’s generally only available to clients who are going through an amicable divorce in which the spouses agree.
By opting for a flat fee divorce, you can enjoy a variety of advantages that you would miss out on otherwise.
Flat Fee Divorces Are Cost-Effective
Instead of having to worry about billing surprises and unexpected attorney fees during the process, you are given a one-time fee in the beginning that you pay only if you want to move forward with the divorce. This one-time fee leads to a more affordable divorce than paying at the end or getting on payment plans.
Flat Fee Divorces Promote Efficiency
Some attorneys may be tempted to extend your divorce case if they are being paid by the hour. With a flat fee divorce, that is not even an option because you will pay the one-time fee at the outset and nothing else. This is not only more efficient for your finances, but it incentivizes the family law attorney to work swiftly and remain organized.
You Can Still Ask Questions
It’s normal to have several questions when entering any kind of legal process, and divorce cases are no exception. With a flat fee divorce, you can send your attorney as many questions as you like without having to worry about your costs increasing as the clock starts ticking when the attorney starts reading your questions or taking your phone calls. Instead, the flat fee divorce attorney will simply answer your questions at no extra charge.
While a flat fee divorce boasts assorted benefits, it’s not necessarily the best option for everyone. In most cases, the divorce needs to be amicable and relatively straightforward, with the spouses involved already agreeing on how to divide child custody and property. In fact, most lawyers will only offer a flat fee option to clients who are agreeable with their spouse.
The flat fee divorce process in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex has four steps with which you must familiarize yourself.
Step One: Petition for Divorce
The first step is to file a petition for divorce. Whichever spouse does this is considered the petitioner, while the other becomes the respondent. This is fairly straightforward and just involves submitting the proper documentation to the family court.
Step Two: Sign the Waiver of Service
The waiver of service is something that the respondent will need to sign to indicate that they have been formally served the divorce motion. If the respondent does not sign the waiver and respond, they run the risk of losing their position in divorce proceedings and not getting a say.
Step Three: Reach an Agreement With Your Spouse
In Texas, there is a 60-day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. During that time, it’s a good idea to negotiate the terms of the divorce with your spouse. This will determine how property is divided as well as child custody, visitation, alimony, and other factors. Once the agreement is finalized, your Dallas divorce attorney will prepare a written version.
Step Four: Attend Your Court Hearing
The last step is to attend the court hearing. In an amicable divorce, you may be able to get what’s known as a prove-up, which is a court hearing in which you and your spouse both present testimony for the terms of the divorce. The judge may ask questions about how you meet the requirements, your children, and details about your property. If everything is agreed upon, the judge will finalize the divorce.
At a minimum, it takes 61 days to finalize a divorce, which is one day for the filing in addition to the 60-day waiting period. Of course, it is possible to wait longer than 60 days if it takes more time to come to an agreement with your spouse. In general, the process takes between 61 and 120 days in most cases.
You technically can, but this is generally not optimal. You will need help from a Texas family law firm to secure the best outcome regarding property division, visitation rights, child custody, child support, and alimony payments.