People going through divorce face many emotional challenges. This emotional turmoil sometimes causes them to overlook the fact that divorce poses many financial challenges as well. Yet, with a little planning and foresight, you can significantly lower the amount of legal expenses you will face from the divorce proceedings. Here are some effective tactics for lowering the legal expenses of your divorce.
Avoid the temptation to hire the first divorce lawyer you become familiar with. Like anything else, when it comes to divorce, it pays to shop around. There are often wide variances in what individual divorce lawyers charge, so it’s worth the extra effort.
Do Your Homework
When you think you’ve found a lawyer you’d like to represent you, do a little background check of the firm on your own before agreeing to let them represent you. See if you can get references from previous clients and check their standing with your local bar association. You may also be surprised by what a simple Google check of a lawyer’s name may produce.
For better or worse, you may have to make multiple visits to your lawyer’s office during your divorce. If possible, choose a lawyer whose office is located conveniently nearby. That way you will save both time and money when you have to do things such as delivering papers related to your divorce.
Know the Price
You should know up front what your lawyer’s fee rates and their billable hours and tasks will cost in advance. Look for firms that offer low flat fees and are transparent about what they charge and why they charge for it. Always be aware of what you are paying for and if you’re not sure, then ask.
You may successfully find yourself a good lawyer, but they can’t be of much use to you if you don’t keep them well informed. Of course, communication is a two-way street, so make sure your lawyer will also keep you informed of any deadlines and submissions you need to make. Effective communication between you and your lawyer will save you both money and time.
Prepare in Advance
In every encounter with your lawyer, whether it be in person or on the phone, try to know in advance what you want to discuss or inquire about. Lawyers charge in part by how much time they spend with you giving advice on the phone or elsewhere. Focused conversations that get right to the relevant issues are less expensive than unfocused, rambling ones.
Know the Process
Every state’s divorce laws are in some ways unique, so take the time to learn about the general features of the divorce laws in your state. This will enable you to better understand what your lawyer tells you, thus cutting back on billable inquiries. It may also enable you to do things like file some of the paperwork yourself, thereby saving even more money.
Don’t let your divorce cost you more than it needs to. By following these common sense tips, you can significantly decrease the cost of your divorce and make the process simpler and less stressful for all.