Divorce can be expensive. Most estimates are suggest divorce costs $15,000-$20,000 when factoring in filing fees, attorney’s fees and additional expenses.1 Ironically, this is close to what the average wedding costs, but few people are aware of the potential amount.2
There are ways to keep these costs down, though. If you take the time to follow these 10 tips and hire an experienced divorce attorney, you may be able to keep yourself from paying too much for your divorce.
Negotiate Instead of Argue
Nothing racks up the cost of a divorce like arguing simply on principle. In every divorce, neither side is going to walk away thinking that they got everything they deserved. So instead of taking hard stances and drawing several “lines in the sand,” try to be flexible. The more you want to fight, the longer your case is likely to take.
Provide Accurate Information
Being accurate and honest is important, both when it comes to your divorce lawyer and when it comes to the court. This means knowing your finances and honestly reporting all income and property. Making your lawyer investigate financial records is time consuming and costly, and you could face fines and criminal charges if you hide assets from the court.
Never Follow Legal Advice That Doesn’t Come from Your Attorney
When you go through a divorce, you are almost guaranteed to have a myriad of advice sent your way, whether you ask for it or not. The smart move, though, is to follow the advice of your attorney, and only follow his or her advice.
Always Respond to Requests from Your Attorney
Most divorce lawyers work on an hourly basis, and these hours include verifying information that could easily be confirmed by you. Having to make repeated calls for documentation or having to confirm information independently adds to those billable hours. If your attorney is requesting information, delaying getting back to them could end up costing you in the long run.
Complete Administrative Tasks Yourself
Any work that you can do yourself is work that you won’t need to pay an attorney to do. While you will not be able to replace the legal work your lawyer does, making your own copies and keeping track of hearing dates and court orders could lessen your fees. This means communicating to your law firm that you are looking to save costs, and working with them to accomplish this goal.
Close All Joint Credit Accounts
Often, one spouse will wind up having to pay for some share of the other’s spending before the divorce is finalized. To help avoid this, once you know a divorce is imminent, you should immediately close all joint credit card accounts and keep track of any irregular spending.
Show Up to Court
If you have a court date, show up on time and be prepared. Courts have little patience for being late, and when you are working through a legal issue, you are on the court’s time. If you miss a court date, it will have to be rescheduled, and depending on how busy the court, is this could add months to the proceedings and add costs to your divorce.
Collect Relevant Documents
One of the biggest costs in a legal proceeding is the discovery process. By providing your attorney the necessary documents, you could avoid some high costs of having your attorney collect them.
Know When to Settle
It is easy to become short sighted in a divorce. If possible, try to look at the bigger picture, and avoiding letting one or two smaller issues keep you from reaching an agreement. The goal is to end the marital relationship, not win every possible battle between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Abide by the Terms of the Agreement
If your divorce settlement includes spousal support or child support, make your payments in full and on time. Always abide by court orders and try not to play “games” with your ex. Doing so could land you back in court, and back on the hook for attorney’s fees and court costs.
Bonus Tip: Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Do not underestimate the experience and knowledge of having a good divorce lawyer. Ultimately, hiring an experienced attorney could help you save time and money. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled divorce attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in family law and divorce matters for over 30 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help no matter your location.
Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
2. http://www.costofwedding.com href=”#ref2″>↩