How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Divorce Lawyer in Dallas?
Whether you are considering getting a divorce or are in the process of getting a divorce, you have a lot of things to think about. That may include how much it costs to hire a lawyer for a divorce in Dallas. This article will help you understand how an attorney charges for his time in a divorce proceeding.
How a Dallas Divorce Lawyer Bills
Lawyers can charge different types of fees, and those fees can vary based on several factors. A divorce attorney with decades of experience who has many pleased clients will charge more than one who just began practicing law. Location can affect costs, too. An attorney with large offices in Highland Park will probably charge more than one with a small office in Irving.
Most divorce lawyers charge for their services in one of two ways: An hourly fee, where you pay for the actual time the lawyer works on your case, or a flat fee, where you pay a set price for the lawyer to do very specific tasks in relation to your divorce.
Lawyers who charge by the hour usually bill in six- or 15- minute increments. Your lawyer will bill you every time he works on your case or talks to you on the phone. If your lawyer bills in 15-minute increments, you will be billed for 15-minutes when your lawyer spends 5 minutes on your case, or for 45 minutes if your lawyer spends 31 minutes talking to your ex’s lawyer.
A lawyer who bills by the hour will probably ask for a deposit, or retainer, up front and then will bill you regularly until your divorce is finalized.
In some situations, Dallas divorce lawyers may charge a flat fee. This is usually true when you and your spouse are on speaking terms and can agree on how you will divide up your assets, such as your house or pension plans. An attorney will be more likely to charge a flat fee when your case is relatively straightforward and you mostly need help filing paperwork with the court. If your attorney will accept a flat fee, be sure to ask what court costs are included and when the fee has to be paid. Know that if the scope of the legal work changes, you may have to pay more money.
Learning About Billing Rates
Before hiring an attorney to give you Dallas divorce help, be sure to ask about fees and rates. Finances are often a major concern for those getting a divorce, and you need to explain your situation to the attorneys you meet with. And if you share a joint bank account with your spouse, your money may be tied up while you and your spouse work things out.
Once you find out whether your lawyer charges by the hour or will accept a flat fee, you need to understand exactly what the rate or fee will be. Be sure to ask about extra expenses, such as court filing fees. Lawyers who bill by the hour will usually expect an up front fee, or retainer, when they take your case. Attorneys who take a flat fee may want to be paid in full right away.
If your attorney bills by the hour, ask whether the attorney can give you an estimate for what your entire proceeding could cost. Since there are so many variables, though, the attorney may not be able to give you a specific answer.
Laws and Guidelines for a Divorce in Dallas
The type of divorce proceeding you or your spouse pursues can also make a difference in how much your divorce in Dallas will cost. The more time and divorce advice a Dallas lawyer provides, the more expensive the proceedings will be.
Under Texas divorce law, you or your spouse can claim the marriage has become insupportable. Or, you or your spouse can pursue other grounds for divorce, which can include adultery, cruelty, felony conviction or other causes. The type of grounds used to file for divorce and the spouse’s responses can make a big difference in how complicated or drawn-out the proceedings become.
While Texas is a community property state, one spouse may argue that some assets are actually separate and don’t belong to you both. These types of disputes can also drag out the divorce proceedings. The longer it takes, and the more bitter your divorce proceedings are, the more your Dallas divorce lawyer will charge.
Now that you understand how Dallas divorce lawyers bill for their time, you can make a better decision about which attorney can help you through your divorce proceedings.