How can clients keep their legal costs down during a divorce?
As people in the process of separation and divorce quickly learn, most lawyers charge on the basis of time, so it is critically important that clients learn how to provide their professional team with the requested information in a timely, organized manner. If you’re looking to keep legal costs down, here are a few tips.
Locating and presenting financial documents seems to be one area that causes great difficulty for clients. In many marriages, one spouse has been responsible for managing the money and the paperwork, and the other may have very little understanding of their financial affairs. Individuals who are already feeling vulnerable and emotionally depleted by the breakdown of their marriage are then expected to “miraculously” learn about assets, liabilities, investments, debts, budgets, etc., and how to complete complicated financial statements.
So some will avoid doing anything, resulting in numerous requests from their legal teams for information – and every request costs money.
Some will locate information in a haphazard manner, sending a document or two to their legal team every couple of days. This is neither efficient nor cost effective.
Some will gather all the documentation they can find (relevant or not), drop it on their lawyer’s desks, hoping someone else will “figure it all out” – another expensive way to deal with the fear of doing it wrong.
Clients may want to consider hiring a Divorce Organizer to help manage the paperwork of divorce. Divorce Organizers will assist in locating and organizing documents so that legal teams can proceed efficiently and effectively on their client’s behalf. They will often provide checklists and information sheets which will be useful tools for clients who do not know where to begin. They will also help clients learn new skills that will be invaluable both during this process, and moving forward in their new life situations.
A client who can provide their legal team with their documents in an organized manner will not only keep legal costs down, but will also generally have a very grateful lawyer.
Debbie Shawn founded Divorce Matters – Preparing for an Organized Divorce in Toronto, Ontario, to help divorcing people organize their legal and financial information, to feel more in control of this difficult process, and to ultimately become their own best advocate. divorcematters.ca