Wednesday, February 11, 2015

5 Helpful Ways to Control Your Legal Costs in Divorce

I am frequently asked by clients “how can I control my divorce costs?” I hear lots of comments like, “I don’t want to spend more than I have” – or, “We have nothing. Why does it cost so much?” There are ways to control the costs that you incur on family law matters. I tell my clients that they should keep in mind:

1. Always do your homework. If your attorney asks you to gather documents, do it. It is cheaper to gather documents that you have (spending an afternoon going through the messy junk drawer that contains tax returns and bank statements) than to buy the information from somebody else.

2. Plan for your meetings with your attorney. Never, ever go to a meeting unprepared. Have your list of questions ready. It likely will take your attorney the same amount of time to answer several questions as just one question.

3. Be careful on your use of emails to your attorney. Emails make your attorney nearly always available to you – at a price. Most attorneys charge for all of the time they spend on addressing any of your comments and/or questions. So, sending a “quick email” to your attorney may really cause your expenses to increase. It also causes difficulty in the overall relationship with your attorney, because a common response after seeing your first bill, listing the 15 emails your attorney read and answered, is to cut off all contact with the attorney. This is not the answer, as it ultimately leads to more cost.

So be careful. Consider writing your email and saving it in your draft folder until you have several items to address. (Of course, this does not apply to a time-sensitive issue.) You may also want to start a “list of questions/comments” that you can provide to the attorney all at the same time.

4. Pick your battles. Dealing with a soon-to-be ex (or an ongoing dispute with an ex) can be overwhelming, and you can control the issues to pursue. If you really want to fight over the value of a used couch, keep in mind that the battle will almost always cost more than the couch.

5. Consider mediation before resorting to litigation. Parties who are forthcoming with asset and debt disclosure can save tremendous amounts of money by making a commitment to try to reach agreements without resorting to the onerous rules of the court. By working with a mediator, the parties agree to exchange information, they get to review the information and get any questions answered, and then they help create a solution that works for their family.

Read about Mary Ann Hess's fee and payment options for family law clients.

4 comments:

  1. Useful tips to get your divorce at minimal costs. Visit Divorce lawyers for more information.

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  2. All of the advice mentioned are really helpful but I think 4 and 5 advice is self-explanatory. Before going to a litigation or consulting a lawyer you should first consider talking with your partner but if a spouse is being battered, that should not be the case. Many cases of violence against women are left unsolved because of the said trait. Women should immediately seek Filipino attorney's advice as soon as possible if cases like that happen.

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