While going through a divorce usually isn’t easy, finding the money to pay for one can be equally challenging. This is especially true for people who haven’t worked for a while or a spouse who knows little about the family’s finances. If you’re facing divorce and not sure how to pay for it, we’ve got a few tips to help you get started.
Tip No. 1: Get real about how much a divorce will cost you.
We all hear that getting divorced is expensive but how much does it really cost? According to a recent study, the average divorce in Texas costs about $15,600. Divorce costs rise quickly when children, businesses, complex property settlements and other issues are involved.
It’s also important to note that most divorce attorneys require that clients pay a retainer up front before they begin work on a case. In general, you’re looking at about $5,000 to $7,500 just to get started, and that typically will only get you through the temporary orders phase of your case.
Get details on additional costs in our recent blog: How much does it cost to get divorced in Texas.
Tip No. 2: Don’t expect to get free legal aid for divorce in Texas.
Getting divorced in the United States is not a right. It’s something people choose to do, and consequently, there are fees that typically need to be paid to the county (filing and court fees) and fees that most people need to pay an attorney for services provided.
You and your spouse could try to handle your own divorce but we strongly advise against doing so in most cases. Learn about the costly downsides of DIY divorce here.
Legal aid is available through different agencies in the state of Texas. However, very strict income requirements and limited available funds mean that most people are unable to qualify for aid. Some organizations that serve victims of domestic violence also provide legal support but the type of support varies.
Tip No. 3: Research the different divorce ‘financing’ options available to you.
There are a variety of ways to pay for a divorce, depending on your circumstances. Options to consider may include:
- Funds from the marital estate. If you and your spouse have shared money and/or other assets, you both may be able to use those funds to pay for the divorce. This may involve asking a judge to issue an order to free up or liquidate assets to pay your legal fees.
- Your spouse. If you don’t work, your spouse is the breadwinner and he or she has funds available from their income to pay for your legal fees, you may be able to get a judge to order your spouse to pay up.
- Personal loan or credit card. Depending on your credit history, you may be able to take out a personal loan from a financial institution or get a credit card to pay your legal fees. Just be sure to pay close attention to terms and interest rates, especially since credit card interest rates can be high.
- Family members. Do you have parents or a sibling who would be able to lend you money? We realize it can be hard to ask family members for money but it may be your only option. Loans from family should be treated like any other loan, where terms and any interest are agreed to in advance and put in writing.
- Payment plan through your attorney. This may be an option with some family law firms if you’ve paid your retainer upfront. Keep in mind, if you don’t stay up to date on your payments, the attorney may choose to withdraw from your case.
Speak with a reputable divorce attorney about your options
If you live in Tarrant County, Texas and are considering divorce, we invite you to schedule a confidential case review with our founder Justin Sisemore. He can take a deep dive into your case and give you a ballpark idea regarding potential legal costs should the Sisemore Law Firm in Fort Worth handle your divorce.
To schedule your consultation, call our office at 817.336.4444 or visit our contact page to book an appointment online.
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