Divorce has both emotional costs and financial costs. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce some of the legal costs associated with your divorce.
When you hire an attorney, you are essentially purchasing their time. Therefore, the more things that you can do to reduce the use of your attorney’s time, the further ahead you will be.
- Do all your own documentation. Your attorney can guide you as regards what you need to gather, but if you can do all the preparation it will save your attorney’s time. Collect all your financial information and put it into spreadsheets. Using Excel, create a spreadsheet of your budget, hard cost living expenses, car payments, house payments, etc. Do this yourself and your attorney won’t have to take time extracting all this info from you. The more accurate the better.
- Make notes before you make a call to your attorney. You want to be organized and efficient on your phone calls. Be direct.
- Decide in advance what your objective is. A fair and equitable division of assets is best. Some people change goals in midstream. If you do this, your attorney will lack a clear direction and you will be paying for wasted time.
- Your attorney will have forms that you can fill out. If your attorney has to fill out these forms, you should be aware the meter is running.
Your attorney is the person who puts it all together to represent you. The more legwork you do, the less you will have to pay for legal hours that your attorney will have to invest in to track down what you could have done yourself. They have lots of clients and you will be a better partner if you can attend to some of these facets of preparation yourself. Don’t go in there with a pile of papers and throw it on his or her desk.
Finally, hire an attorney who will be prepared and not a procrastinator. The better prepared and organized your attorney is, the smoother things will go for you. This, too, will save you both time and money.