Keeping Divorce Cost Low: Secret #1
The first secret to keeping your divorce cost low is open and courteous communication between you and your soon to be ex-spouse. This probably was not what you were hoping to hear. Why does communication between you and your spouse keep the costs down? If you and your spouse are not communicating at all and have hired attorneys to not only advise you but to be the middle man for every single conversation that needs to take place during a divorce, you will end up spending a lot of money on attorney’s fees. Every phone call your attorney has to make to relay a message or request something simple is money out of your pocket.
For example, if your attorney bills his or her paralegal at $100 per hour with a minimum billing time of 6 minutes for each task, then each time the paralegal answers a call or sends a message it costs you at least ten dollars. If you are asking your attorney’s office to relay daily messages to your spouse those ten dollar charges will add up quickly.
Communication, or lack thereof, between you and your spouse may be one of the reasons you are splitting up in the first place. It may be difficult to change the way you communicate all of the sudden. But unless there is some pressing reason why you should not be speaking to one another, i.e. a history of domestic violence or psychological abuse, it may be worth your time and effort to at least try to communicate more effectively. If it just isn’t working and you need your lawyer to be the middle man, use him or her for that. Just be mindful that your divorce costs will increase.
Keeping Divorce Cost Low: Secret #2
The second secret to keeping your divorce cost low is hiring an experienced and ethical attorney. I’ve written a post on how to find the right attorney but one of the main reasons why you want the right attorney is to keep your costs low. The right attorney will be able to keep costs down in a number of ways.
- The right attorney will be objective and will help you understand what things are worth fighting over and what things are not. Their objectivity will balance out your emotional responses to what is taking place during the divorce.
- The right attorney will keep you informed of your costs, those spent and those to come, throughout the process. If you are aware of what you have spent and what the possible remaining costs are, you will better be able to make decisions on whether or not a particular issue is really “worth” it to you.
- Finally, the right attorney will know how to deal with opposing counsel in such a way as to reduce costs, not inflate them. Fighting fire with fire is generally not an applicable cliché to divorce proceedings. Sometimes it is better to let opposing counsel set himself on fire and then just wait for the fire to go out (aka, save your money) until you can get to the Judge who will be wondering why opposing counsel’s suit smells like smoke.
It is possible to keep your divorce costs low. I recommend, unless there is history of domestic violence and psychological abuse, communicating with your spouse about as many issues as possible. The less you use your attorney as a messenger for your day-to-day activities, the cheaper your divorce will be. Also, use the tools in my book and other posts to help you find the right attorney. The right attorney will always be happy to help keep your costs down. I would take ten uncontested divorces over one messy divorce any day.
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Divorce with Joy provides information about divorce and legal issues designed to help users cope with their own legal needs. This legal information is not the same as personal legal advice – the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances. If you want professional assurance regarding your personal situation, please consult a lawyer. If you are a lawyer, please review the authorities personally to determine their application to your case.
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