10 Ways to Assist Your Divorce Attorney and/or Minimize Your Legal Fees

The following post was written over one year ago. Laws often change and recent case decisions may impact how the law is applied. As such, the information in this article may not be current. We encourage you to contact our firm for information on this particular article and to make sure the analysis is still up-to-date.

Divorce is never easy.  However, you can make it easier on yourself, your wallet and your divorce attorney if you follow the following rules:

 

(1) Your Case Information Statement is an extremely important document. It assists the Court in determining support until your case is over (i.e. pendente lite support) and ultimately the outcome of your case. It sets forth your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. Provide your attorney with all of the information required in this document. Make sure you discuss this document at length with your attorney before finalizing it;

 

(2) Do not call your attorney or email him/her every time you have a  question, thought/comment or issue with your soon to be ex unless it is an emergency.   Instead, wait until you have several non-emergent questions, issues or thoughts/comments so that you are only billed once, rather than on multiple occasions;

 

(3) Make sure you ask your attorney questions if you do not understanding what is going on in your case or you do not understand the nature of a particular Court proceeding

 

(4) Tell your attorney everything (e.g. regarding your marriage, children, health, finances, etc.) even if you do not believe that it is important. Sometimes you may not believe that a fact or an issue is important to your case. However, you are not an attorney so let your attorney make this determination, not you. Also, the more prepared your attorney is, the better he or she can represent you;

 

(5) When you are in Court, do not speak to your attorney when he/she is trying to listen to what is being said by someone else such as, the judge or your spouse’s attorney, or he/she is in the middle of speaking. Instead, write down what you want to tell your attorney on a piece of paper and show it to him/her. You do not want your attorney to miss what is being said in Court;

 

(6) If you are unable to comply with an agreement or a court order, immediately tell your attorney so he/she can determine the best way to handle this problem;

 

(7) Discovery is when your spouse’s attorneys request that you answer written questions and/or produce documentation.  When you answer this discovery,) make sure you completely answer and/or provide the documents requested. This will avoid your attorney from having to chase you for your answers and/or documents which will cost you additional legal fees. Make sure you discuss this document with your attorney before finalizing it;

 

(8) Whenever you communicate with your spouse whether it is verbally or in writing be careful what you say because it may be used against you later;

 

(9) Until your case is over, you should not be communicating via social media such as, Facebook, as these communications maybe used against you; and

 

(10) If you own a business and there is a forensic accountant involved, provide this accountant with all of the documentation he/she requests to avoid incurring legal fees and accountant fees for the accountant to repeatedly ask your attorney for the requested documents.

 

These tips will help save your sanity and bank account when you are going through a tough, and potentially expensive, process like divorce.

Jennifer Fortunato, Esq.