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How Much Will Your Case Cost? – Calculator

A common misconception is that all attorneys want to do is run off with your money. As a matter of fact, many attorneys are pretty evasive when it comes to being upfront with you about the estimated costs of your lawsuit. When you landed on an attorney’s website or were otherwise exposed to the attorney, you were likely in the market for, or shopping around for, an attorney to assist you with your legal matter. I am sure that not only do you consider the attorney’s credentials when looking for the best fit; you probably also consider the costs.

What will it cost to hire an experienced attorney? What about filing fees? Will you break the bank paying for process servers? Shopping for an attorney is like shopping for a new vehicle. You want to do adequate research to find the “right” vehicle. You’ll likely consider, the car’s record (i.e. Has it been in any accidents? How is the vehicle on gas, etc.) just like you’ll consider the attorney’s. Imagine if you went to a car lot and there were no price stickers on any of the vehicles. Further imagine that when you asked the car salesman how much a specific vehicle was, he/she replied, “I don’t know” or “It depends”. This would probably not give you much assurance, confidence or comfort.

Walters Gilbreath, PLLC is a firm that provides our clients with a list of approximate costs for the litigation. The truth is, both parties will spend about the same when it comes to attorney’s fees, but there is some deviation. Here, I will explore and expand on the popular question of , “How much will my case cost?” Calculate the approximate cost of your case by using below given calcualtor:

To break down the costs in an easy-to-understand method, I will break the costs down into the 5 phases of every Family Law case.

Calculate the Approximate Cost of Your Case:


 

Phase One : Filing or Initiating the Suit

Description Estimated Costs for Petitioning Party Estimated Costs for Responding Party
Retainer Fees (Cost to retain/hire an attorney); this is paid upfront and is refundable.  Board Certified Attorney : Starting at $10,000 ; Associate Attorney : Starting at $2,500 to $5,000 Board Certified Attorney : Starting at $10,000 ; Associate Attorney : Starting at $2,500 to $5,000
Filing Fee(s)  Original Pet. : Approx. $300 ; Misc. Filings such as Motions & Proposed Orders : Approx. $2 each; Certfied Copies for service (process servers) : $8 per document Counter-suit : Approx. $70; Original Answer : $2 ; Misc. Filings such as Motions & Proposed Orders : Approx. $2 each; Certfied Copies for service (process servers) : $8 per document
Process Servers (To serve the other party with the law suit) Approx. $100 per service attempt (Excluding costs for rush service) Approx. $100 per service attempt (Excluding costs for rush service)

Phase Two : Temporary Orders 

After the initial filing of the suit, it is time to get Temporary Orders. Temporary Orders are orders that both parties will be required to follow until the Court renders a decision/signs off on the final order. This is possibly one of the most heavily litigated phases of the case; oftentimes emotions are still high, people are in a rush to find out who gets to live in the house during the divorce, which school(s) the children will attend during the suit, which vehicle they will drive while the case is pending, etc. Another reason that Temporary Orders are heavily litigated is because Temporary Orders tend to become permanent so it is pretty important to get a favorable outcome for the Temporary Orders.

Description Estimated Costs for Petitioning Party Estimated Costs for Responding Party
Mediation (Mediation is typically required BEFORE a party can have a hearing on Temporary Orders, especially if the suit involves children) Mediators Typically Cost : Approx. $375-500 (Per Party) for a half-day (4-hours) Mediators Typically Cost : Approx. $375-500 (Per Party) for a half-day (4-hours)
Written Discovery (If already initiated or responded to PRIOR to Temporary orders) Drafting Outgoing Discovery : Approx.  $500

Responding to Incoming Discovery Requests : Approx Starting at $1,000

Drafting Outgoing Discovery : Approx. $500

Responding to Incoming Discovery Requests : Approx Starting at $1,000

Temporary Orders Hearing  Attorney Prep. Time : Approx 1 to 8 hours, depending on complexity of case. (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at TOs Hearing : Approx 1 to 6 hours (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Prep. Time : Approx 1 to 8 hours, depending on complexity of case. (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at TOs Hearing : Approx 1 to 6 hours (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Ad Litem/ Amicus Attorney (This can get costly even though parties typically split the fees since the parties will likely be paying for their own attorney IN ADDITION TO these fees.  Ad Litem/Amicus’ Typically charge an upfront retainer of approx. $5,000. You must also pay their hourly rate (to be deducted from the retainer) Ad Litem/Amicus’ Typically charge an upfront retainer of approx. $5,000. You must also pay their hourly rate (to be deducted from the retainer)

Phase Three : Discovery  

Discovery is the organized system in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure for parties to exchange information with each other. The purpose is to give everyone access to the same information, so that the case can settle with every party being fully aware of the extent of their estate. It is meant to create some transparency between the parties so that if they do in fact settle, each party can be sure that they have had all of the necessary material information to be able to settle in confidence. Despite what you see on TV or in the movies, cases with good attorneys who have conducted Discovery rarely have any surprises once they get to final trial. It is extremely rare that there will be a surprise witness or evidence introduced for the first time at trial. There must be some extenuating circumstances such as the evidence had just come into that party’s possession and the party had no prior knowledge that such evidence existed before then. Even then, the judge will weigh the evidence’s probative value against the prejudicial effect that it will have on the surprised party.

Cases can be won and lost in the Discovery phase of a trial. Failure to conduct appropriate discovery can result in a surprise at trial that be fatal to your case. Failure to obey the rules of Discovery can result in serious sanctions from the Court that can cripple or even destroy your case. Click here to read more about Discovery. 

Description Estimated Costs for Petitioning Party Estimated Costs for Responding Party
Deposition(s) (The Process of Giving Sworn testimony outside of a court-setting) Deposition Transcripts & Court reporter : Approx. $500 to $2,000

Certified Translator (If Applicable) : Approx. $80 to $100 per hour (minimum 2 hours) (Depends on Language)

Attorney Fees for Attendance : Typically 1 to 6 hours (You pay the Attorney’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Fees for Preparing to Take a Deposition : Typically 1 to 4 hours (You pay the Attorney’s Hourly Rate)

Deposition Transcripts & Court reporter : Approx. $500 to $2,000

Certified Translator (If Applicable) : Approx. $80 to $100 per hour (minimum 2 hours) (Depends on Language)

Attorney Fees for Attendance : Typically 1 to 6 hours (You pay the Attorney’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Fees for Preparing for your Deposition : Typically 1 to 2 hours (You pay the Attorney’s Hourly Rate)

Written Discovery (If initiated AFTER Temporary Orders are in place) Drafting Outgoing Discovery Approx. : $500

Responding to Incoming Discovery Requests : Starting at approx. $1,500

Drafting Outgoing Discovery Approx. : $500

Responding to Incoming Discovery Requests : Starting at approx. $1,500

Hearings on Discovery Issues (i.e. Motion(s) to Compel, Motion(s) to Quash, etc.) Attorney Prep. Time Approx : 1 to 6 hours, depending on extent of other party’s deficiencies (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at Hearing Approx. : 1 to 3 hours (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Prep. Time Approx : 1 to 3 hours, depending on extent of your response (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at Hearing Approx. : 1 to 3 hours (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Hiring an Expert Witness (CPA)  Starting at approx. $5,000 upwards; Expert CPAs typically charge an hourly rate (which will vary) Starting at approx. $5,000 upwards; Expert CPAs typically charge an hourly rate (which will vary)
Hiring a Child Psychologist  You will typically be charged the psychologist’s hourly rate (which will vary) You will typically be charged the psychologist’s hourly rate (which will vary)

Phase Four : Mediation for Final Orders

Mediation is an assisted settlement negotiation. It is a process by which the parties attempt to settle some (or all) of the issues in the case outside of intervention from the court. Prices for each party in Mediation range. Prices depend on the length of mediation and the quality/credentials of the mediator. The quality varies greatly, and some Mediators are better than others for particular situations, types of clients, and can relate to certain parties. Some cases don’t require great mediator skills because they are going to settle whether there is mediation or not. Others are impossible to settle without the intervention of the court. The great majority of cases will however settle under the right circumstances, and in these cases the quality of the Mediator is important. Click here to read more about mediation.

Description Estimated Costs for Petitioning Party Estimated Costs for Responding Party
Mediators (A full-day session of 8 hours may be necessary) *Depends on the Chosen Mediator and amount of time booked.

Approx. $375-500 (Per Party) for a half-day (4-hours); Full-day : Approx. $750 to $2,000

*Depends on the Chosen Mediator and amount of time booked.

Approx. $375-500 (Per Party) for a half-day (4-hours) ; Full-day : Approx. $750 to $2,000

Attorney Preparation for Mediation (Including correspondence with the opposing counsel/party) Approx. 4 to 6 hours (You pay attorney’s hourly rate) Approx. 4 to 6 hours (You pay attorney’s hourly rate)
Attorney Meeting(s)/Conferences with Client & Attorney Attendance at Mediation Attorney Prep. Time Approx (including consulting w/ client) : 1 to 8 hours, depending on case complexity (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at Mediation : (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Prep. Time Approx (including consulting w/ client) : 1 to 8 hours, depending on case complexity (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Attorney Attendance at Mediation : (You pay the Atty’s Hourly Rate)

Phase Five : Final Orders (Trial) 

Phase Five : Final Orders, is the last phase of every suit. There is only two options : 1. Either you and the other party will agree on all of the remaining/pending issues in the case and you can then sign off on your final order (to be signed by the judge afterwards) OR 2. You will have to go to trial in order to settle the case. Going to trial is what happens when two parties cannot agree on 100% of the issues involved in the litigation. Trial is a final hearing so that a Court can make those decisions for you. This is why sometimes it can be beneficial for parties to settle outside of court – because settling outside of court gives each party the ability to customize their final order. A trial would put this into the hands of an objective Court. Click here to learn more about trial. 

Description Estimated Costs for Petitioning Party Estimated Costs for Responding Party
Trial Preparation (Includes interviewing & preparing witnesses, preparing exhibits, gathering evidence, preparing lines of questioning, voire dire (if applicable), etc.  Jury Trial : Approx. 8 to 25 hours, depending on complexity (You must pay the attorney’s (and staff) hourly rate)

Non-Jury Trial : Approx. 6 to 15 hours, depending on complexity (You must pay the attorney’s (and staff) hourly rate)

Jury Trial : Approx. 8 to 25 hours, depending on complexity (You must pay the attorney’s (and staff) hourly rate)

Non-Jury Trial : Approx. 6 to 15 hours, depending on complexity (You must pay the attorney’s (and staff) hourly rate)

Printing Company (Copies made for Court) Typically 3-4copies made of each page (1. For Judge 2. For Opposing Counsel 3. For your Attorney 4. (Optional) Starting at approx. $650 upwards

Typically approx. .10 per page for Black and White and .79 per page for colored pages

Starting at approx. $650 upwards

Typically approx. .10 per page for Black and White and .79 per page for colored pages

Order Certified Copies of Orders from Court Typically less than $40 per document. Typically less than $40 per document.

All in all, you can expect to spend about the same as the other party though this will vary based off of the miscellaneous costs. The truth is, the total cost depends on you and the other party. The more you disagree or fight, the more the suit is likely to cost the both of you.

 

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