Keeping Your Family Strong--Even Through Divorce

How to Reduce Your Divorce Costs

by Kristen Wright

Are you worried about the cost of your divorce will be higher than you thought? Since divorce lawyers typically charge by the hour, you do have some control over how much your legal costs will be. Here are a few tips for cutting back on your legal costs. 

1. Avoid Going to Trial

A divorce case is going to get much more expensive if you have to go to trial to decide on a certain issue. That is why it is always worth working things out in mediation, especially when you are fighting over assets that could end up being less than the cost of litigation. Take the time to work things out with your spouse in private, and then finalize your decisions in mediation. This will limit the number of billable hours from both of your lawyers.

2. Get Your Paperwork Organized

Know that the time you spend with your lawyer is valuable, and that time can often go longer than necessary due to not being organized. You'll want to make sure that you get a list of paperwork that your lawyer requests, take your time on your own to find it all, and present it in an organized manner. Making it easy for your lawyer to find all the paperwork they need is going to cut back on the hours they spend on your case. 

3. Write Out Your Questions

When you have questions to ask your lawyer, it will help to write them down until you have enough questions collected to make contacting your lawyer worthwhile. Then you should stay focused and only ask those questions that you have prepared. Losing focus and talking about other things that are not necessary will increase your billable hours from your lawyer. Staying focused with a list of questions gives you a purpose and a reason to end a phone call or email.

4. Talk to a Therapist

It is easy to keep your emotions out of mediation and conversations with your lawyer when you are working with a therapist separately. Mediation is not a time to talk about your feelings, and your lawyer is not someone that you should be venting to about the emotional problems that you are going through. Work those out with a therapist separately can cut back on your lawyer's billable hours yet find solutions to the problems that you are going through. You won't find answers by bringing up those same issues in mediation. 

If you have concerns about the process or the pricing, be honest about it with your divorce attorney.