It is no secret that divorcing your spouse can be expensive. Often, the cost of a divorce includes more than just your attorney’s fees. It can also include expert fees, court costs, and the like. Experts are frequently used to assist the parties and/or the Court in evaluating assets, determining a party’s earning potential and determining custody and/or parenting time issues.
However, when you are involved in a litigious divorce, you may feel as if your fees are getting out of control. The following are 9 tips to help minimize the cost of your divorce:
TIP 1: When your attorney and/or your spouse’s attorney requests documents and/or information from you, readily provide it to your attorney. If you do not readily provide it, your attorney is then required to spend additional time, resulting in additional fees, chasing you for the requested documents and/or information.
TIP 2: Tip 1 also applies to experts. Experts, particularly, experts who evaluate businesses or determine the value of a party’s interest in a business for equitable distribution purposes and a owner/party’s income for support purposes (i.e. forensic accountants), request a substantial amount of documents. Also, they often make additional document requests. You should readily provide your attorney and/or the expert with all of the
documents the expert requests. If you resist producing the documents, then the expert, as well as your attorney, will both charge you to chase you for these documents.
TIP 3: When your attorney sends you discovery to answer from your spouse’s attorney such as, written questions (i.e. interrogatory) or a request for documents (i.e. Notice to Produce), provide complete and responsive answers to your attorney. This will reduce the time your attorney spends (and thus, less fees) searching your file for answers and/or documents or calling you to obtain same.
TIP 4: If you or your spouse files an application with the court, such as a support application, review the application with your attorney and also provide your attorney with your comments in writing. Making the information readily available to your attorney will reduce the hours (and thus, your fees) your attorney spends on drafting your application or a response to your spouse’s application.
TIP 5: Unless it is an emergency, do not call your attorney every time you have a question. Instead, write your question down and once you have a few or several questions, then call your attorney to discuss them. This will reduce your legal fees as it will result in one telephone conversation with your attorney as opposed to several telephone conversations.
TIP 6: Time and again legal fees are spent because a party is not ready to finalize their divorce for a variety of reasons. For example, a party may have a difficult time accepting that their spouse wants a divorce. In these cases, it can take months after the filing of the Divorce Complaint for this party to focus on a resolution of the issues. If you are one of these parties, then you should seek counseling or some other assistance to allow you to focus on resolving the issues sooner than later to avoid unnecessary legal fees.
TIP 7: Seriously consider the advice and recommendation of your attorney. Your matrimonial attorney has been involved in many cases before, and not taking their advice or recommendation seriously can result in unnecessary legal fees.
TIP 8: If you provide your attorney with documentation that is being sent to a third party such as, your spouse’s attorney or an expert, provide your attorney with copies to avoid the cost of having your attorney to make these copies.
TIP 9: The less litigious a divorce, the less costly. If you and your ex-spouse can try to be a bit amicable during the process, your costs will be lower than if you both decide to fight over every little issue during the procedure. The longer the process takes, because you feel that you must fight tooth and nail, the more expensive it has the potential to become.
Divorce is never easy and it is never free. However, by following the above tips you can ensure that the costs of your divorce do not get out of hand.