Accept that you may not have the control you would like to have over the legal costs. If your spouse is unwilling to negotiate a settlement and wants to drag matters over a period of time or through to trial, the legal costs will escalate. Sometimes one or both spouses start out not fully comprehending the stress and high costs that are involved in fighting it out in the litigation process. Months later they may come to the realization that it is better to work out a settlement to end the “emotional and financial bleed” and get on with their lives. Sometimes one or both spouses are so angry that they will do everything possible to drag matters out just to have their “day in court.” Then they realize only too late that putting their lives in the hands of the court is anything but empowering. The court may make decisions that neither of them desires.
Taking the things that you cannot control into account, you can do some things to make your time with your lawyer more cost effective and control your legal costs to some extent.
Make the calls, pick up the documents, and do whatever you can to gather any information or documents that your lawyer requires. But of course you also need to consider the trade-off of the cost of your time versus the cost of your lawyer or his or her assistants doing this work.
In matters of property division, you may have to provide records to determine any worth that is separate from the family property or you may have had prior to the marriage. If you had a marriage contract, these matters may be dealt with there. If not, you will need to provide the appropriate documentation. If you owned property or had investments such as an RRSP prior to your marriage, do you have valuations as at the date of the marriage? If you do not have the records to substantiate property or investments you believe should not be considered in the division of the matrimonial property, can your financial advisor, present or former employer or banker provide information that would substantiate your claim? There are professionals who do forensic valuations of property but these services will add costs to the bottom line of your separation or divorce.
This article has been edited and excerpted from the Book To Have and To Hold with permission by McGraw-Hill Ryerson,Copyright ©2010 by Kathleen Aldridge and Nancy Jane Bullis. Katleen Aldridge, BA, B Ed, is an experienced educator, writer and editor of business and technical publications, she has co-authored several best-selling books, including the recently published Wired for Small Business Success. Nancy Bullis is a Toronto-based lawyer who provides writing, technical review and editorial services for several highly successful financial publications.
Other articles by Kathleen Aldridge and Nancy Jane Bullis, LL.B.Back To Top