Some expenses incurred during a divorce you have no control over. Others you do. When it comes to attorney fees, there are actions you can take to save money during your divorce.
Provide Detailed Information to Your Attorney
Divorce is a document-driven process. When you are able to provide the required documents for divorce, it reduces the legwork that your legal team must do on your behalf.
In a custody case, for example, it is helpful to have a written summary of the history of the roles of each parent and the activities each parent has engaged in with the child or children for the past several years.
For the issue of support, pay stubs and tax returns for the past three to five years, and an itemization of monthly living expenses are extremely valuable. Always keep detailed records of any support payments you make.
For property issues, it is extremely helpful to provide a current deed for all real property, title documents to vehicles, and a current statement for all bank, retirement, mortgages, loans and credit cards.
Be Organized in Record Keeping
As you progress through the divorce process, you may be asked to gather additional evidence should your case go to trial. Keep and preserve any evidence of significant events that may ultimately be presented to the court.
It is often a good move to log text messages, e-mails, and voicemails. Be careful about recording conversations as it may be illegal especially if the other party is unaware that a recording is taking place.
Keeping a journal is a great idea. Your attorney can use your notes to build a compelling case, and it tends to be more effective and less time consuming for an attorney to process written notes compared to over the course of several conversations. It always adds credibility when you can include accurate details and specifics about the issues in your case.
Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce Options
A divorce that goes to trial almost always racks up more in legal fees than reaching a settlement. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce offers parties more control when settling their divorce. It may save in costs compared to taking a divorce case to trial.
The collaborative divorce or divorce mediation process specifically helps couples identify points of disagreement. Even if the couple does not resolve every issue in mediation, they often narrow the scope of the litigated issues which is useful in reducing the costs of a divorce.
Mediation may not work for all couples. Both parties must commit to the process and have healthy boundaries and relatively open lines of communication. That’s simply not the reality of many who are moving through a divorce.
Work with a Client Experience Manager
Review your bills each month and make sure you understand everything on your statement. Law firms want their billing practices to remain as transparent as possible for clients. We understand how critical it is for clients to remain in the light about how charges and fees.
Bring up any questions you have about billing to a Client Experience Manager. This is the person on staff whose job it is to clarify anything pertaining to your billing and the management of your case.
Utilize Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Not every question about a divorce case needs the attention of a family law attorney. A paralegal or a legal assistant may be able to answer your questions about your case much more efficiently—depending on the nature of what is asked.
Clients can expect to be in contact with an attorney as well as paralegals and legal assistants throughout your case. Generally speaking, clients should contact an attorney any time you need legal advice. Clients with inquiries about the facts of your case can be usually be handled by a law office staff at a significantly lower rate.
When in doubt about where to direct questions, Holstrom, Block & Parke clients contact a client experience manager free of charge at any time to discuss how law firm staff can assist with any questions individual case.
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