Show Me the Money — Why is Texas Divorce Litigation and Child Custody Litigation so Expensive?

It just is! That may sound facetious, but the fact is that divorce litigation and child custody litigation require an attorney to spend time on your case, and that time costs money.

The amount an attorney charges for time is generally based upon experience, years of practice and considerations about amounts charged by other similarly situated attorneys in the area. As an example, even in an “agreed” divorce case with no children and a generally uncomplicated estate, an attorney must still take the following steps: draft an initial pleading; communicate with the client and opposing party or counsel to confirm the agreements made or seek to reach agreements regarding the various items which must be included in a final decree (regarding identity and value of assets and debts and disposition of same); draft and finalize a proposed final decree; discuss and make requested changes if agreed upon; file the decree; and finally appear with the client to “prove up” the decree before the judge.

If formal mediation becomes necessary, if it becomes necessary to seek temporary orders (in order to maintain the status quo while the divorce is pending), if discovery is exchanged (discovery is a process by which attorneys send questions and requests for production of documents for the other party to answer), if hearings on other issues are necessary, the expenditure of time is greatly increased even when the attorney is being as judicious as possible billing his or her time.