When a family goes through a divorce, they often become anxious over the costs associated with the process.
This is understandable, given that they are going to have to maintain two households on the same incomes that previously supported one.
Fortunately, there are some things all parties involved can do to keep their costs down and while still resolving their matters fully and efficiently.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce
1. Communicate versus Litigate.
In many instances, litigation costs are driven up because divorcing spouses do not communicate with each other and instead go straight for litigation via the filing of motions or retaining experts. In many instances, if the parties and their respective attorneys had attempted to reach a resolution of the issue prior to seeking a decision from the court, they could have avoided the expense of a motion and made an agreement that they can each live with.
While motions are certainly necessary in a number of cases, they are not always the answer. Many divorces are resolved without having to file any motions. If you are concerned about the cost of your divorce, it’s important to keep an open mind over trying to resolve the matter without the aid of the court.
In fact, you should always take the time to consider if an expert is truly necessary in your case. For example: If your spouse is self-employed, you may want to hire a professional to value the business. However, you will need to also take a step back and look at the documents produced in discovery in relation to the marital lifestyle. If the numbers look similar to what you were living on during the marriage, it may be more worthwhile to preserve the funds that would have otherwise been allocated to the expert.
2. Be mindful when communicating with your attorney and firm staff.
Every family law firm’s retainer agreement is different, but one thing will certainly be the same: you are billed for the time that the attorneys and paralegals work on your case. This is important to keep in mind because it is often an area where people run up costs.
If you have to get documents to your attorney or have questions, you may want to wait to send them until you have multiples. While it may take your attorney longer to review a lengthy email, it may ultimately be more cost-conscious than sending many smaller emails. You do not want to be so conservative that your attorney is not getting the information necessary in your case, but it’s an area that’s often the cause for more expensive litigation.
3. Complete all paperwork as fully as you can and in a timely manner.
Throughout the divorce process, there are many times that you are asked to complete paperwork. Discovery, which is the exchange of documents and proof about your respective financial lives, is the most comprehensive exchange of information, and you are often asked to answer more than 100 questions. It will be beneficial to your case, and your bill, if you do as complete of a job as possible when you are asked to fill out the initial response.
If your attorney or the staff has to repeatedly request additional information from you, it will lead to an increase in your bill. You are the only person who has this information and can answer these questions, so it will ultimately fall to you to answer. Be proactive in your case by providing as much information as possible.
A version of this article previously appeared here: www.danddfamilylaw.com