How You Can Control Divorce Costs

We understand that our family law clients are concerned about how much their divorce is going to cost. Divorces, especially contested divorces, are more costly than most people expect. With some planning and communication, there are ways that spouses and parents can manage some control over how much their divorce is going to cost.
The cost of a divorce varies depending on the lawyer who is handling your case. At Lyttle Law Firm, we do more than explain the court costs. We provide a written agreement that sets forth our rates, including hourly rates and/or rates that depend on the types of divorce claims we pursue on your behalf.
The initial consultation
Our initial review of your family law case consists of a Strategy Consult where we map out and plan how we will proceed in your divorce or custody matter. We review your current situation and your goals. We then explain your rights and your options. If you agree to hire us, we then prepare a written agreement that explains what we will do for you and the rates for our representation.
How the billing process works
We begin by asking for a retainer fee. A retainer is a specific sum of money that you pay a lawyer to start handling your case. The retainer fee covers the initial work we do for you, such as reviewing in detail your asset, income, and debt situation, your goals and expectations, the grounds for divorce, and the types of actions we need to file.
Law firms should send bills to you regularly, such as a monthly basis, which itemizes the work that has been done through the date of the bill and the charges for that work. The bills generally indicate the due dates for payment. We try to work out flexible billing arrangements depending on your financial situation.
If the overall bill for the case is less than the retainer, then the balance (the retainer minus the bill) is returned to you.
We may charge different rates depending on whether a lawyer does the work or a staff member does the work. We generally charge in increments – such as every tenth of an hour. What the initial retainer will be always depends on the type of case involved.
Court costs and filing fees
As a general rule, the client is responsible for all court costs and filing fees – including serving papers on your spouse. You may also be required to pay the cost of any deposition fees and any subpoenas.
What are the basic legal fees in a divorce case?
Lawyers usually keep a timesheet of their work on your case. The timesheet should include time:
To speak with you and any witnesses – after the initial consultation
To research your case
For phone calls and email communications
To talk with your spouse’s lawyer
To speak with court personnel
To draft letters
To prepare filings, briefs, and any other legal papers
To represent you at court hearings, depositions, and conferences
For travel to court, to your spouse’s law office, and to other necessary locations
To review your financial records and information – and your spouse’s financial records and information
To work on other necessary parts of your case
To speak with your children, if necessary
To speak with a family or court-ordered psychologist or counselor
Collaborative divorce and mediation
One of the significant ways we work to reduce your legal fees is to try to resolve your marital disputes by agreement – so you don’t have to try your case in front of a judge. Court hearings are generally the most expensive part of any family law case. There may be a lot of waiting time before your case is heard. Court hearings require extra preparation time. Court hearings require presenting your case according to the rules of evidence, which can take time.
The common ways to try to settle your claim are through mediation, through a collaborative divorce, or through negotiation between your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer. These alternative methods save costs by reducing waiting times, resolving your case amicably instead of fighting over each issue, and by speeding the time your case is finished.
Some of the ways you can save costs
Preparation helps save costs. Spouses can save costs by taking the time to organize and prepare all their financial information, such as your tax returns. It helps if you prepare a list of questions before you talk with us, so we don’t require a lot of back and forth time to address your concerns.
It helps to work with a respected, experienced lawyer. Skilled lawyers like those at our firm understand how to move your case. We understand what information you need. We know what information we must have from your spouse. Our lawyers understand all the processes involved.
Speak with a premier family lawyer about how much your divorce will cost
You have the right to be informed about how much your family lawyer charges for your divorce. At Lyttle Law Firm, our Austin, San Marcos, and Central Texas family lawyers keep our clients informed about the legal costs and court costs so they can budget their expenses. We work to resolve your cases before trial, when possible, to help you save on legal fees. Call us at 512.215.5225 or use our online form to make an appointment to discuss your divorce case. We represent residents of Travis, Hays, Comal, Williamson, Bell, Caldwell, Burnett, Llano, and Guadalupe Counties.

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