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Divorce Resource Center
How Can I Save Money on My Divorce Trial?
Follow These Quick Tips to Save on the Legal Fees Associated with Your Divorce
Attorney fees may be the most important aspect of a divorce case, but the least discussed. In the midst of the emotional turmoil, retainers, hourly rates, and costs associated with a case get forgotten about until the first bill arrives and you’re faced with costs that you never considered.
Research Any Potential Law Firm First
You have a lot of attorneys to choose from: sole practitioners, as well as a number of firms. The choice that you make has a huge impact on your life in the short and long run. If your attorney doesn’t accurately represent your interests, you can waste money, strain relationships, and ultimately pay more down the road in terms of emotional stress and financial burden. It’s important to have an idea of what to look for before you hire a lawyer.
You’re likely to save money, and stress, by choosing a firm that:
- Communicates with you. During your consultation, you should feel like your attorney is interested in you, not just your case. Your attorney should actively engage you with questions and answer your questions when possible.
- Practices extensively in family law. Any attorney who doesn’t have a significant amount of experience with family law cases like yours can pose a risk to the outcome by simply being unknowledgeable. This could lead to increased time spent on your case (costing you hundreds of dollars more during the case), and / or failing to properly represent the interests of your case that could save you time, money, and stress afterward.
- Invests in productivity. It is quite simple: disorganization leads to increased costs. If the office or the attorney isn’t organized, you will pay more.
- Maintains advanced technology. Managed correctly, most technology leads to increased productivity, because of the efficiencies that it allows. Firms that use laptops, iPads, up-to-date software, and secure cloud storage allow your attorney to access files and data quickly and easily, which reduces the time spent on needless activity in your case.
- Maintains an outside professional network. Need a child and family investigator? Need a financial planner? Perhaps a resource for co-parenting classes? Your attorney should know individuals or organizations to refer you to so that you can continue progress with your case.
- Employs a team of experienced staff and support personnel. You should feel comfortable with the professional team that supports your attorney, from the receptionist to the paralegal, everyone in the firm should be on par with your expectations.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the attorney you choose. If you feel like “just another case,” you’re speaking with the wrong person. Because you’ll be sharing some of the most intimate details of your life at a time when you may feel extremely vulnerable, it’s crucial that you’re comfortable with your lawyer as a human being, and not just an attorney.
Always Be Prepared
The number one thing you can do to keep costs down is to come prepared. Information must be organized to present to the court. Either you can, or your attorney can handle this task. Spending the time to gather the information needed for the financial disclosure will save you a fortune in legal fees.
- Have all of the paperwork ready when you meet with your lawyer.
- Be on time to your appointments.
- Stay focused on one issue at a time, and address them methodically.
- Be cautious of spending too much time discussing how things will “turn out;” your attorney will bill you for time spent discussing the dozens of outcomes possible in your case.
- Scan documents, and keep them organized in folders with descriptive titles.
- Take notes to refer back to so you can avoid calls or emails asking repetitive questions.
- Keep calls laser focused. Discussing the small TV you want from the bedroom worth $75 can cost you more than twice that in a 40-minute conversation.
- Use email to communicate.
- If you don’t need to speak directly with your attorney, deliver info and pass messages through support staff. Remember, you get to control who answers your questions and takes your information.
- Review your billing statement and clarify every question. You do not have to accept general or vague terminology on a bill from your attorney.
- Ask how you can help keep costs down.
- Avoid court, if you can. Sometimes the other party insists on making every issue contentious, but if you can, try to work within the process to get what you need without going to court.
Manage Your Expectations and Keep Realistic Goals
One of the ways you can reduce your costs and your stress is to keep your expectations realistic. Make informed and reasonable decisions about how your case is managed by asking questions, and accepting the answer given by your attorney. If your attorney says that what you want is unlikely to be achieved, consider moving on to another issue. High-conflict cases with unlikely outcomes are expensive gambles, and only serve to add to the bottom line of your bill.
Our law firm understand that when emotions run high, certain things can get overlooked. This is why we take the time to discuss the details of our fees and sustainable retainer approach prior to our firm representing you. We find that much of the confusion with attorney fees happen when there hasn’t been a candid, detailed discussion early enough in the relationship about the various aspects of the fee arrangement. Our attorneys are comfortable answering all your questions before you agree to retain our firm.
We are ready to help you move forward in life. Call us at (303) 394-3030 to begin building your case.