10 Ways To Save Money In A Divorce – To say it is costly to get divorced is an understatement. Not only is it costly emotionally for you and your family, but it also takes an immediate toll on your wallet. In fact, I’d go so far as to say divorce is the worst financial decision ever because there aren’t too many decisions we make in our life that decrease our net worth in half overnight.
With all that being said, there are steps you can take to limit unnecessary costs.
A few years ago, we published a blog to teach clients five ways to save money in a divorce. For those who missed it the first time or are interested in learning more, we’ve expanded upon that list with the 10 money-saving strategies below:
Be honest with yourself and your lawyer
Lawyers bill by the hour, so wasted time is wasted money – YOUR wasted money! Lawyers rely upon what their clients tell them to be truthful and base their actions (the stuff you get billed for) on what they learn from their clients. When my client is not honest with him/herself or with me, the client can quickly become the biggest obstacle to efficiency and economy. To help you avoid this pitfall, ask yourself – before you meet with your lawyer — why you may lose your case, what your biggest concern is, and what your spouse may say about the challenges in your marriage.
Work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse
You and your spouse may not be able to agree on much, but if you can at least work out deals between each other on small things like personal property, you will keep from having to pay your attorney to do it for you. It’s always a good idea to ask yourself, “Is a $500 couch worth wasting time and money over?” As the old saying goes, pick your battles.
Consider an Alternative Dispute Resolution
Not all divorce cases end up like what has been sensationalized on television, with spouses going at each other like a pack of wild wolves. But any case that goes to trial will quickly add to your total legal fees. ADRs such as mediation and arbitration are a great way to resolve disputes amicably without reaching the courtroom. Not only is this an efficient way to end your marriage, but it’s also a great way to save money.
Do the heavy lifting
I am amazed when I get to a point in the case where I know the “facts” better than my client. As you might expect, this is a place you need to avoid if you want to achieve a successful outcome within a reasonable budget. When my client doesn’t know all the facts, I have to spend more time – and money – uncovering this information. To do the heavy lifting, find out from your lawyer: (a) What you need to prove in court; (b) How you prove your case; (c) What evidence you need; (d) Where the evidence can be found; (e) How to get the evidence. Then do it!
Prepare to meet with your lawyer
In my experience, a lot of time is wasted during client meetings, whether in person or over the phone. In an effort to minimize the amount of time that is wasted during a meeting, I generally tell my client what I need to meet with them about so they are prepared to discuss the issue or issues. The simplest way to save money during your divorce is not to call, e-mail, or text your lawyer every time you have a question. I recommend that you write down your questions and then schedule a face-to-face meeting so that you can go through your list of questions and have them answered.
Monitor joint accounts and finances
There is a propensity for clients to be so focused on the ballooning costs associated with their attorney and the courtroom that they forget that money can also be lost on the backend by not paying attention to their entire financial situation. If you have joint accounts, one spouse could run up a ton of debt behind your back. It is imperative that you and your lawyer have a clear understanding of your individual and community assets before and during the divorce process.
Keep great records
I always ask my clients to provide me with a timeline of the events that led up to the circumstances that caused them to make an appointment to see me. This timeline is an effective way for me to quickly and inexpensively educate myself about the case. In addition, if you organize your calendar entries, emails, phone records, text messages, photographs, Facebook posts, and all the other sources of information into one concise and chronologically organized timeline, you will you will have done all the “heavy lifting.”
Seek out lawyers who offer free consultations
This seems like a no-brainer, and in reality, most attorneys these days do offer free case evaluations. But in a stressful situation like divorce, even the most basic questions don’t get asked from the outset. Spending money on an initial consultation is an unnecessary expense and one you should be able to avoid rather easily.
Keep your lawyer off speed dial
In today’s electronic age, the ability to contact your lawyer at all times of the day and night is limitless and, as lawyers are ethically required to respond to their clients’ communications, the more frequently you contact your lawyer, the more money you are spending. I find that at the beginning of the case, while emotions are running high, people need someone to talk to, and often it is their lawyer.
Resolve your problems – stay together
Many disputes that seem irreconcilable at first can be worked out through proper counseling once everyone is calm and thinking rationally. The first step is for both parties to do an honest self-assessment and be open to the idea that their own actions or inactions may have contributed to the marriage problems. If these problems can be resolved, not only will you save a marriage, but you’ll save a massive unnecessary expense.
Call Nelson Law Group Today!!
When you are faced with a family law case, the right attorney will give you practical legal advice that you can use to get through the legal difficulties with which you are presented. At the Nelson Law Group, PC, we listen to you and then provide a straightforward evaluation of your case.
Give our knowledgeable staff here at Nelson Law Group, PC a call if you have any further questions regarding this – or any other – issue. Our staff is always available.
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