There are many costs involved in a divorce, one of which is the court filing fee. How much is a filing fee for a Texas divorce, and what should you do if you aren’t able to afford them?
Every county has its own fee schedule for court filings, but the cost usually ranges from $150 to $350. Some counties charge different fees for married couples getting divorced with and without children, and there can be additional fees on top of the filing fee that is due to the court as a part of the divorce process. If you’re unable to afford the court filing fees, you can ask the judge to waive them.
You typically have to pay a filing fee when you file any sort of court case in Texas, including filing for divorce. This fee varies depending on which Texas county you are filing for divorce in, but it usually ranges from $150 to $350.
Let’s take a look at the cost of the filing fee in some of the most populated counties in Texas to give you a sense of what to expect.
For a divorce with children in Harris county, the filing fee is $320. If you are getting divorced without any children involved in the marriage, the fee is $293.
Harris county is home to the largest city in Texas, Houston, and the fifth-most populous metro area in the U.S., the Houston–The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro statistical area.
To get divorced in Dallas County with children, the filing fee is $401. If you don’t have minor children involved in the marriage that you are dissolving, the court filing fee is $350. The second biggest county in Texas, Dallas County, contains part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
The filing fees for family law cases in Tarrant County are $401 with children and $350 without children.
The fee for filing for divorce without children includes:
In addition to the above charges, the fee for filing for divorce with children also includes:
The third most populous county in Texas, Tarrant County is home to the city of Fort Worth.
To get divorced in Bexar County or file for an annulment, the filing fee is $350 if there aren’t minor children involved in the marriage. If you are filing for a divorce or an annulment with children, the cost is $401.
Bexar County is the fourth most populous county in Texas and contains the city of San Antonio. It’s also included in the San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas, metro statistical area.
To file for a divorce or annulment in Travis County, the base filing fee with or without children is $350. If you do have children, there is an additional $15 fee to cover the DRO operation fund fee.
As you can see, the cost of filing for divorce in the largest Texas county generally ranges between a little less than $300 and a little more than $400. However, if you are in a less populated county, your filing fees might be cheaper than that.
For example, the cost for filing a civil case in Fayette County, Texas, is $222, with an additional $100 fee for personal service. King County, one of the smallest counties in Texas, charges $314 to file for the dissolution of a marriage. Sutton County charges $350 for civil and family cases while filing for divorce, both with and without children, in La Salle County costs $319.
As a final example, the filing fee in Delta County is $268 if the non-filing spouse signs a waiver and $276 for a divorce filing with a citation. The fee for serving a spouse via a Constable is $80.
To find out the fees in your particular county, you will want to contact the district clerk’s office in the appropriate county.
Depending on your specific case, there might be additional court fees. For instance, to serve your soon-to-be ex with divorce papers, you might have to pay a separate fee. It also might cost extra to get copies of your paperwork.
If you aren’t able to afford the court filing fees for a divorce in Texas, you have the option of asking the judge to waive your court fees.
You will need to be able to prove that one of the following is true in order to receive a waiver of fees:
There are two ways you can ask a judge to waive the filing fees for a divorce in Texas:
You might want to choose the second option if you don’t want your address listed and you have privacy concerns. You will need to have this document signed in front of a notary public.
When you file one of these documents, it communicates to the judge that you aren’t able to afford the court filing fees. You will need to use blue or black ink and sign them, and it’s essential that you don’t leave any sections blank.
A number of different pieces of information will be required on this form or document, including:
You will want to attach proof to your Statement if you receive government benefits due to being low-income. For example, you might attach a copy of a check or eligibility form.
If there is other information you want the judge to know about, you will want to attach them on a separate page. On the top, you will want to write “Exhibit: Additional Supporting Facts.” In this document, you can include information such as family emergencies or atypical medical expenses.
The Statement form will ask for your address. It’s important to know that the other party in the divorce might receive a copy of this form. If it is a concern to you that they will know your address, you will want to file a sworn document instead. You can receive free advice from the Family Violence Legal Line (1-800-374-4673) if you are worried about your safety during your divorce.
It’s essential that you don’t fudge the numbers on this form to try and get out of paying the court filing fees. Doing so is a crime, as your signature on the form is a statement under penalty of perjury that all of the information is correct.
If the court chooses to waive your filing fees, you won’t have to pay any fees that are “charged by the court or an officer of the court.” This includes:
It’s important to understand that the court fees are only one small part of the cost of getting divorced if you are enlisting the help of an attorney. Of course, there are legal aid programs and other free legal help you can seek if you are low-income, but the waiting lists for these types of programs can be long. While it isn’t always advisable to get a DIY divorce, if your divorce is simple enough, you might choose to get divorced in Texas without a lawyer. This can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, but you’ll want to make sure that doing so doesn’t compromise your ability to reach the most favorable post-divorce outcome.
If you’re getting divorced, there are probably a million things on your mind. Though it might not be the most appealing way to spend your time, you’ll find that the entire process can be much less stressful if you take the time to learn about Texas Family Law and what to expect as the proceedings unfold.
Are you looking for more information about getting divorced in Texas? Make sure you check out our Texas divorce law blog for more vital resources.