How can you reduce the cost of your divorce?
Written by: Megan Dell
No one enjoys the process of getting divorced and paying a lawyer makes it that much more painful. Many clients want to reduce the cost of their divorce without sacrificing the quality of their representation. Here are a few ways you can save money:
Be honest with your attorney.
One of the best things you can do to minimize attorney fees and the cost of your divorce overall is to be honest with your divorce attorney. Hiding potential issues or concealing relevant information could increase the cost of your divorce in the long run. Because communications with your attorney are confidential, there is little reason to avoid telling them the truth.
Gather documents yourself.
There are certain documents that your lawyer will need, including financial records. You will likely have some of them in your possession, but there might be others that you have to print from an online resource or request from a bank or institution. Your lawyer can request some of these documents on your behalf but will likely charge you for the time he or she spends doing so. You can avoid these hourly charges by gathering the necessary documents yourself.
Provide scanned copies.
Once you have gathered all those documents, you probably don’t want to give your lawyer your only copy of them. Take the time to scan them yourself. Otherwise, your lawyer will probably charge you for the administrative time spent scanning or copying them into your file.
Respond to your lawyer promptly.
Lawyers understand that some clients do not even want to think about what is happening with their cases, much less respond to frequent questions from their lawyers. However, your lawyer has a duty to diligently represent you, and when you do not return calls or emails, your lawyer is required to call or email you again until you respond and may even seek to be relieved if you do not respond to multiple contact attempts. Your lawyer will also be recording the time spent attempting to contact you and charging you for that time; it is much more cost effective for you to respond quickly.
Batch your questions.
Lawyers will likely charge you for reviewing and responding to your emails. This is because they stop what they are doing to refocus on your case. Instead of emailing each question as you think of one, if it isn’t an emergency or time sensitive, then it is more efficient to have a running email with a list of questions that you send periodically.
Be mindful of the costs associated with specific goals.
Keeping your end goal in mind throughout the litigation process and reevaluating your wants throughout the length of your case will help keep costs low. For example, in many cases, it costs more to argue over which spouse gets to keep a car than the car is actually worth. You should constantly consider whether the issue you are fighting over is really worth the amount you will have to pay your attorney to accomplish your goal.
Make case decisions based on logic, not emotion.
Understandably, divorce is always an emotionally taxing process. However, if you want to reduce the cost of your divorce, you must learn to identify the negative feelings and separate them from assessing what the law provides. Otherwise, your emotions may cloud your judgment to the point you pursue an unrealistic — and costly — outcome.
Do not treat your attorney like your therapist.
There is a certain degree of emotional baggage that your attorney is well equipped to handle. They can provide you with some insight as to the timeline of your case, what steps you can take to move things forward, their experiences with this particular issue before, and reassurance as to what the conclusion of your case may look like based on the legal principles of your state. They are on your team and fighting the battles on the frontline with you, but they have a particular role, and are not to be used in place of a therapist.
Your attorney will usually provide a listening ear, but at the end of the day, they are there to resolve your legal problems, not deeper emotional traumas. If you simply want to rant about your ex, and blow off some steam, or simply share your fears, your divorce attorney may be a very costly way to accomplish that end.
Our attorneys can help you strategize ways to reduce the cost of your divorce. Schedule a consultation to talk with us about your situation.