Below are some tips to help you manage your legal costs. First, you must remember that every time your lawyer works on your file, you are billed for the lawyer’s time – no matter whether you send a one line email or leave a three minute voicemail message.
Second, it is important to remember that a separation is a very emotional and stressful time in your life, and it is perfectly understandable that you want to talk to someone about it. It may be hard to talk to your friends, and you may be tempted to turn to your lawyer to fill that role. This can be very expensive. It would be better to ask your lawyer to recommend a divorce coach or a therapist for you to work with, at a much lower hourly rate.
Third, when your lawyer gives you advice, you must trust that they are doing so with your best interests always at the forefront. You are always entitled to an explanation from your lawyer about their advice. Arguing with your lawyer about his or her advice will only cost you money and may make it difficult for your lawyer to help you.
Fourth, you must remember that your lawyer acts on your instructions. If your lawyer tells you that you are being unreasonable, that is their advice, which is what you are paying for. However, if you insist on your lawyer taking an unreasonable position, you should expect that will be very expensive for you. You may make your case more complicated than in needs to be.
Finally, when you and your lawyer first meet to discuss your case, your lawyer crafts a strategy to move your matter forward in the fastest, most cost efficient manner. Sometimes, that means going to mediation/arbitration or some other form of alternate dispute resolution, and sometimes that means court. Using the least adversarial process possible will save money.
John P. Schuman is certified a specialist in family law. He is an experienced and respected family lawyer, education lawyer and children’s rights lawyer at Devry Smith Frank LLP. He has earned the respect of his clients, judges, mediators and arbitrators for his sensible approach to resolving family law issues, his concern for children, and his understanding of complex financial matters.