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Many divorces are too complex for the parties to handle alone. Understanding the combined assets and how they should be split can be overwhelming and complicated, and issues regarding children can be too emotional to take on alone. So lawyers are brought on to help resolve the issues and reach an amicable agreement. Just because a lawyer is required, however, doesn’t mean that the divorce has to be prohibitively expensive. The couple seeking the divorce can do quite a few things to help reduce the financial cost of the divorce so that it doesn’t end up being more of a burden than necessary.
What’s Worth Fighting For?
Every conflict that divorcing spouses have could cost them money. So, it’s in your mutually best interests to individually determine what is worth battling over and what isn’t. It’s natural to be emotional during a divorce, but the most important thing you can do to save money on the process is to negotiate with one another and come to an agreement on everything you can without the aid of a lawyer. Only those items that you consider to be nonnegotiable are really worth paying a lawyer to help you hash out.
Take the Time to Find a Good Attorney
The criteria you use when choosing the right divorce lawyer will include his or her fees. However, attorneys with experience and a good track record can be more beneficial in the long run. They may cost a bit more upfront, but experienced lawyers possess the required knowhow to resolve issues in the best interests of their clients, whether that means their clients end up paying less or getting more.
Additionally, keep in mind that out-of-town attorneys charge for travel time, so location is important. Also, consider whether or not you need a high priced specialty lawyer at all. For example, if you have already agreed on asset division then you don’t necessarily need a pricey lawyer who specializes in forensic accounting.
As they say, time is money, and for an attorney, the saying is literal. Prior to communicating with your attorney, whether on the phone, in person, or through email, consider exactly what it is you want to say or ask. Is it imperative, or can it wait? Do you have other questions that can be added to the list? Is your question something a paralegal can answer? Take time to think through all communications because as soon as you have your lawyer’s attention, he is on the clock.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
You may not be able to see the divorce through on your own, but you can certainly be a critical part of the team. By taking on much of the process yourself, you can save significant money on attorney and paralegal fees. By doing little tasks yourself, such as making your own copies and phone calls, and tracking court dates and Court Orders, you will also have a little more insight into the process and, specifically, your own case.
Hire a Mediator
Finally, it might sound counterintuitive to suggest that you hire an additional person when you’re trying to save money. However, hiring a neutral, experienced mediator can literally save thousands of dollars in litigation fees. Some states require mediation, so check with your state court to determine whether you live in such a state.
Getting a divorce is painful enough without the added stress of the expense. But, by following the tips listed here, you can save significant money in fees and costs. That’s money you can use for a fresh start.