Here are some suggestions on how you can save on attorney fees during your divorce.
1. Work with an experienced divorce attorney.
It’s important to choose a divorce attorney wisely because the decision will ultimately impact how much money you spend on legal fees. The best lawyer is one that is experienced, knowledgeable, fits well with your personality, and can effectively communicate with you. Since divorce cases involve a wide range of legal issues including child custody, child support, division of property (such as real estate, securities, and retirement), division of debt, spousal support, and much more, it’s crucial to find a lawyer that has specialized knowledge. An experienced divorce and family law attorney will have the knowledge and experience needed to navigate each of these specific areas that need to be addressed in your case. As the client, you can set the tone for your divorce. Your attorney and support staff are there to advise you and respect your position on negotiating a settlement or proceeding to a trial. Your attorney shouldn’t simply agree to do each request made by you, especially if s/he knows that such a request is unnecessary and will not actually help move your case to a conclusion. Rather, your attorney should effectively communicate with you about your requests and advise against certain actions because s/he knows they are not cost-effective.
2. Talk to your lawyer about your budget.
If you make your lawyer and his staff aware of your financial constraints, they may be willing to work with you to find ways to keep costs low. At the initial interview, ask your potential attorney if you can help keep costs low by offering to review business records and highlight certain points for s/he to review, create outlines and timelines to help with the background needed to draft the factual sections of pleadings instead of paying for support staff to complete an interview to obtain this information.
3. Keep all documents organized.
If you don’t keep your documents organized, you are paying your lawyer and/or the support staff to organize things for your file and the court. As your case progresses, ask your attorney if there is a way that you can organize important files that would assist in the litigation and save you money that may be needed for mediation or trial.
4. Reach as many agreements with your spouse as possible.
A divorce trial can be expensive so try to limit the number of issues that need to be tried before the court if possible. If you can, attempt to have those difficult conversations with your spouse with the hope that conversation may lead to an agreement and save you both on attorney fees.
5. Be reasonable.
Although you may love that kitchen table, it may cost you $1,000 to replace and $2,500 to fight your spouse for it. Throwing good money after bad isn’t hard to do when you let emotions take over, so try your best to handle property decisions as reasonably as possible because most things can be replaced.
6. Don’t send your lawyer an email for each idea you have.
Make a list and send one email in a concise fashion about all your thoughts and questions. Attorneys bill by the hour and in various time increments. If you don’t limit the amount of email communication with your attorney, you will be charged for the time involved for each email read and needing a response. Take the time to send one email that covers everything you want to address so you are only being billed one time for that communication.
Should you need the advice of a divorce and family law attorney or have questions or concerns about your situation, know that we are here to help and discuss those issues with you.