Getting divorced is a stressful matter both emotionally and financially. Many people stay in a toxic marriage for longer than they should simply to avoid going bankrupt over a divorce settlement. A large portion of these financial worries can be contributed to attorney fees. So, is there a way to keep these costs to a minimum?
In this article, we’ll provide you with a detailed answer to this question, so you can get through your divorce without experiencing a financial strain.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!
1. Put it all on paper
As you probably already know, most divorce attorneys charge an hourly fee that ranges from $150 to $500 per hour. On top of that, you’re likely going to pay a specific deposit once you start using their services. Sounds fair, but is that all there is to it?
Sometimes, you’ll be charged some extra hidden fees if you’re not careful. The only way to avoid this is to put all of those financial terms on paper. Ask your attorney for a written fee agreement, so you won’t have to deal with any unexpected charges to your bank account.
Besides, having everything on paper helps you plan your finances and determine your budget properly.
2. Don’t withhold important documentation
The longer your case drags on, the more expensive your attorney bills will be. So, whatever you do, make sure you avoid “stalling” and provide your attorney with the information they need.
Turn over all the documents required during the discovery phase, and save yourself some time, money, and effort. Practice open communication and tell your attorney everything they need to know. If it’s a complicated case that involves large assets and elaborate circumstances, you’ll have to give detailed explanations.
Overall, withholding any kind of information relevant to the case could only do you more harm than good, so avoid doing it at all costs.
3. Check the average prices for divorce attorney services in your area
It only takes a bit of Googling to find out what the usual fees in your state are. While it’s a rare occurrence, some attorneys may try to take advantage of your circumstances and overcharge you for their services. As we said before, getting divorced is never a fun experience, and you’re probably quite emotional. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment, and look for attorneys who price their services reasonably.
Of course, the fees will depend on the complexity of your case, as well as the experience of your chosen lawyer. While you shouldn’t go with the cheapest attorney out there, you shouldn’t be overpaying their services either. So, do some research and determine a reasonable budget before you start looking for lawyers.
4. Settle without an attorney
Are you and your ex splitting amicably? More importantly, are you able to communicate and find the right solution for both of you?
If your answer to both of these questions is yes, then you’ll be able to negotiate a deal with your ex-spouse without the help of your attorney. This will cut your attorney and court mediation expenses by a mile.
Of course, we understand that this is not a possibility for everyone. Sometimes, other than the division of marital property, there are also children involved, which complicates things a lot. What’s more, sometimes the ex-spouses have overwhelmingly negative feelings about each other, so they try to use the divorce to hurt each other even further. If that’s the case, then you’ll certainly need a good attorney by your side.
5. Choose the right attorney
To find the right divorce lawyer, you’ll need to do some research. As we mentioned before, price is an important factor, but it shouldn’t be the determining one.
Instead, you should look for experienced, well-reviewed legal professionals who are transparent with their prices and have a good record to back them up. If you know someone who’s been through the process before, you can always ask for a referral, if not, it’s time to do some research.
For example, Divorce Attorneys at the ctattorneybrownstein.com offer free consultations so you can know who you’re dealing with in advance.
6. Question overstaffing
Your lawyer might bring additional staff to court, there’s nothing unusual about that. Sometimes, they bring novice lawyers to train them, and sometimes they simply require assistance. Still, make sure to ask your lawyer why they need their staff with them, and how does it reflect on the final pricing.
There’s no reason to pay for additional services you never asked for. So, communicate with your lawyers to keep the fees as low as possible.
It’s important to note that an attorney having an assistant or two doesn’t automatically mean they’re trying to charge you more. However, this is a possibility that’s best avoided by simply talking to your legal representative.
7. Don’t rely on your lawyer for emotional support
Yes, divorce is hard. It can put a lot of emotional strain on a person. Nonetheless, your divorce lawyer isn’t your friend nor your therapist. They’re a professional you hired to help you with the legal aspects of your divorce, nothing more. They might know a lot about your case, and they can empathize with your circumstances, but the more you call them, the costlier their services get.
If you’re struggling to come to terms with your divorce, we suggest you surround yourself with your loved ones. They’re the best support you’ll ever get. If the feelings become unbearable though, seek professional help and therapy.
The bottom line
Divorce can be exceedingly financially draining. The costs of hiring a legal representative are usually immensely high. Still, having a reliable attorney by your side is of the utmost importance when you’re getting a divorce, and there are ways to keep those expenses to a minimum.
Make sure to read online reviews on the legal services you’re considering, keep an eye out for overstaffing and other hidden fees, and get a written agreement before you start the process.