Most of our prospective want to know “How much does a divorce cost?” — and we tell them that the answer is really up to them and their spouse.
Here are ten things that you can do to minimize the cost of your divorce:
- Define your goals at the beginning. Having a plan at the beginning sets the tone for your divorce. Shooting a moving target is difficult for lawyer and client. (See our related blog, “Top 10 Things to Do Before you File a Family Case“)
- Chose a family lawyer. A master of all things is a master of nothing . Pick a lawyer who focuses primarily on family law, has experience in the field, is familiar with the local bar association, the practices of the court of your jurisdiction and knows what questions to ask and how to prepare you for hearings if necessary.
- Don’t race to the courthouse over every disagreement. It does not impress the judge and it is expensive. If you amicably settle on exchange times for the children, notify your attorney and settle out of court. Mediating instead of going to trial always saves money.
- Think of divorce as a marathon rather than a race. (See our related blog, “How long does it take to get divorced?“)
- Provide your attorney all relevant financial documents regarding the marital assets at the beginning, or start gathering information soon after filing. (See our related blog, “Top Ten Things to Tell your Lawyer in the First Consultation“)
- Avoid copying your attorney on every snarky email to your spouse and every text message that may (or may not) be relevant to your case. You will pay for them to read each one.
- When you do email or teleconference with you attorney, have an agenda, specific questions, and write down notes as you talk so that you are not tempted or required to ask the same questions next week.
- Listen to your lawyer’s advice.
- Follow the court orders. If the judge asks you to pay support, pay it on time the location listed in orders. If the court tells you not to have overnight romantic partners overnight, or not to drink alcohol during periods of possession, follow the orders! Otherwise, you could get caught- both by the judge and in another hearing for contempt. (which = more money/expensive divorce)
- Remember that YOU are the consumer. The client is in the driver’s seat. You can tell your attorney to be conservative with your money.
Of course, this all depends on how the other party acts. If they have a litigious opposing counsel, mental issues, or problems following court orders and legal advice, then you may have to bite the bullet and pay the fees. Ultimately, they are only taking money away from the estate — so it is in no one’s interest to drag out the divorce.
If you are afraid that your spouse might match this description, there is some good news: the judge can equalize attorney’s fees, caused by the other side’s bad conduct or lack of compliance, and you can request attorney’s fees in your Final Divorce or settlement.
The Law Office of Natalie Gregg
(972) 829 – 3923
Read more at www.NatalieGregg.com.