Divorce and attorney’s fees are expensive. The whole process is unpleasant and stressful. You’re burdened enough with the changes in your life, and then you get hit with an invoice from your attorney. Yikes.
You don’t want to cut corners with such an important process, but it is possible to keep your attorney’s fees to a minimum. Below are six simple ways to make that happen. Not only will following these tips help your wallet, but they also make your time with your attorney more efficient and effective.
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Limit Your Calls and Emails - Save Them Up!
Attorneys bill you for the time they spend corresponding with you - be it by call, text, or email. It can be convenient to shoot your lawyer a quick question via text and get a response ASAP, but is it necessary?
Limit your emails and other forms of contact to no more than once a day. Save up your questions and comments and send them all at once. The same goes for sending documents or “homework” your attorney has requested.
Sending communications in bulk helps your attorney stay organized. It makes it easier for them to focus on your case and prepare their response efficiently. That, in turn, saves them time and saves you money.
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Understand and Complete Your “Homework” in its Entirety
Your attorney may need you to complete various tasks as part of the proceedings. No matter how simple or complex, take the time to read their instructions thoroughly. Then, read them a second time. Make sure you understand what your attorney needs from you, and do it.
If you rush through everything you’re asked to complete, your attorney can waste a lot of time. Catching your mistakes and following up to get what they need adds up on an invoice. It’s a waste of your time and you will pay your attorney as a result. So take the time upfront to get that “homework” done properly.
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Keep Communication in Professional Channels
Today’s world is more connected than ever. Everyone struggles with keeping up, and your attorney is no exception. Even if you have their personal contact info, stick with their office phone and email. It helps them stay organized.
Of course, unless there’s an emergency.
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When It Comes to Agreements, Be Flexible
The truth is, in a divorce, there are no winners. Don’t stand on principle and refuse to reach an agreement. The process doesn’t need to be combative, and this kind of mentality can cost a lot of time. Time is expensive for your attorney, and thus, you.
There are situations where you shouldn’t accept an agreement, where being firm is vital to the safety and well-being of yourself, your children, or your family. This tip doesn’t cover these dire situations. Stay firm, and know your attorney is there to guide you and give you advice for exactly this purpose.
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Seek Advice Before Major Decisions
Your choices and actions during these proceedings have significant consequences. If you’re faced with a major decision, loop your attorney in. They can offer guidance and information of which you may not be aware. For example, if you are tired of driving your old jalopy, do not upgrade to a Ferrari. Call your lawyer first!
Give your lawyer a chance to offer her advice. Their expertise will prevent mistakes and missteps you aren’t aware can be damaging. Addressing those errors can, at best, cost more time at your expense. At worst, they can make your goals for the divorce far more challenging.
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Your Lawyer is There for a Reason - Take Their Counsel Seriously
It’s easy to get wrapped up in what others have done or are doing. We naturally compare ourselves and our lives to others. But in something as personal as a divorce, what works for your friends or family may not be right for you.
Your lawyer is there to help you in your unique circumstances. You shouldn’t blindly follow any advice, even from a lawyer, but give it serious consideration. You may have well-meaning people in your life whose advice just isn’t right for your legal situation. Comparing trusted advice to your lawyer’s guidance can help you make these important and difficult decisions.
Remember that your situation is unique to you. Your attorney may have different preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask, “What should I do to save you time and keep my fees down”. A good attorney isn’t trying to wring every penny out of you, and they’ll be happy to work with you to save themselves time and you money.