Beginning the divorce proceedings can be a trying and emotional time during the best of circumstances, even more so when the custody of a child is involved. Many families wonder about the custody process and how much custody lawyers cost in Texas.

By its nature, a divorce case involving custody claims (the actual legal term in Texas is managing conservatorship) will be more complicated than those without minor children. But you won’t be doing it alone. With the right preparation and information, you will be able to navigate finding a custody lawyer that is the right fit and cost for you.

Let’s go over the different paths a custody case can take and look at cost approximations for each step so that you’ll have an idea of what to expect. Remember, this is not legal advice, only an informational guide to estimate what the costs for a custody lawyer in Texas might look like.

How Much Does a Custody Lawyer Cost in Texas?

Just as no two families are the same, no two separations are the same, and each custody case presents unique challenges and considerations that will affect the final cost a custody lawyer charges. But going into the process, you can expect to spend somewhere between $2,500 and $15,000. Lawyers work on retainer, meaning they expect a minimum payment upfront. In a state as diverse as Texas, this retainer fee will vary from $2,000 to $10,000.

Your custody lawyer will discuss the retainer with you at your first meeting. Once you have paid the retainer, the firm will use it as a reserve from which to draw its fees and wages. Keep in mind that paying the retainer once does not mean that your payment responsibilities end there. This retainer may be depleted, at which point the law firm will request a new retainer. Also, many firms will return whatever unused portion of a retainer remains at the end of the case, but not all will. This is an important question to ask your lawyer when you discuss costs.

Navigating the Different Paths Your Custody Case Can Take

By the time you’ve had your first meeting with your lawyer, you should know:

  • Their hourly rate.
  • Their expected retainer.
  • Whether or not they return the unused portion of retainers.

Your particular circumstances will now dictate how long your case will take, the fees that you will pay, and, most importantly, whether or not you will go to trial.

The most cost-effective custody case is one that does not go to trial. Under Texas laws, the divorcing sides have a great deal of freedom to create a custody arrangement that both sides find satisfactory.

In this scenario, once the two sides create a parenting plan—with or without the assistance of mediators, who charge their own fees—the court must review it. If a judge approves the terms, it can be used in the final divorce decree, and no further court time will be necessary.

However, if the two parties cannot agree, then the custody case can take longer and become more costly. Here are some expenses that may come into consideration:

  • Additional hours billed by lawyers and mediators.
  • Services and fees, including court reporters and filing charges.
  • Expert witnesses, such as mental health professionals.
  • Child custody evaluators.

While these charges can certainly add up over the course of a custody dispute, the cost you pay making this arrangement will establish a foundation for your children’s financial security later in their lives.

Contact Us Today

Our attorneys have decades of experience in family law and can answer your questions about custody case costs. No matter what your particular needs are, you can find a solution by booking a consultation with WhitbeckBennett. Call 800-516-3964 or email us at clientservices@wblaws.com.