One of the most important things that people have to consider when deciding whether or not to seek a jury trial is the cost. How much will it cost for your attorney to adequately prepare for a jury trial? How much will you spend on miscellaneous court costs and other fees? A Texas family jury trial is a final hearing on the issues of your case. This is the point that the Court will make a final decision as to how your property will be characterized and divided and/or make a decision regarding custody, for example. This is your attorney’s last shot at proving your case to a jury of your peers.
First and foremost, if you hire an experienced lawyer, the cost will be much less than if you hire an inexperienced lawyer. You want a lawyer who can do voire dire with comfort and easy. You want a lawyer who knows how pre-trial works. You want a lawyer that has prepared a jury charge numerous times in the last five years. If you select a lawyer that does not know what he or she is doing, you will be paying for that lawyer to get up to speed.
But let’s be frank. A jury trial won’t be cheap. It is the most complex type of hearing that you can have in civil court. If you want an experienced attorney as an ally and to represent you through your jury trial, it will cost you. Additionally, due to the costs associated with jury trials, if one party has access to substantially more liquid funds or assets than the other party, the requesting party can use the threat of a jury trial as a weapon. What do I mean by using it as a weapon? Requesting a jury trial could be used as leverage against a party that cannot afford to have a jury trial. If this tactic is being used against you, you need to hire a lawyer who has experience who can try the case efficiently and with ease.
Retainers for a jury trial typically start at $25,000-$75,000. Depending on how long the case will take and where you are at in the process, the case could easily cost more.
Why is it worth the cost? Because sometimes a jury of 12 or 6 jurors (12 for district court and 6 for county court) will just give your case a better shake than a judge. And sometimes the other side has filed a jury demand to try to intimidate you or force you into a settlement. Point being, Jury trials are worth the cost if you have an experienced lawyer. Ask your lawyer how many times he or she has tried a divorce or custody case to a jury in the last five years and then give us a call and compare the answer. These answers may determine how you approach your divorce or custody case as you move toward trial.