Four Things You Can Control During Your Divorce (and Four Things You Cannot)
They say “divorce is expensive because it’s worth it”, but clients still want efficiency and cost-effectiveness when they are paying for legal work. Many things can impact the cost of a divorce, but the good news is that most of these things are within your control — even though some are not. Read on to discover the ways you can actively save money during your divorce, and how you can prepare yourself for the things you cannot control.
Let’s break down what you can control.
Being honest and up-front with your attorney can save you quite a lot. Your attorney will not spend time discovering facts or information you have already made them aware of, and anything you give them can help them to mitigate unnecessary court appearances or other litigation.
If your attorney asks you to provide documents or other information, the best way to save is responding quickly and thoroughly. When an attorney has to spend extra time following up, sending reminders, or requesting supplemental information you have failed to provide, those hours add up, resulting in unnecessary additional costs.
Attending all scheduled court appearances on time and being flexible in scheduling court dates is always a great way to move your case along quickly. Family courts are notorious for being busy, which means that sometimes hearings will be delayed or rescheduled. Remaining flexible and attentive through these fluctuating schedules will give you far more ease in the process. Being inflexible or obstructionist, however, will certainly result in additional costs. (The same goes for meetings with the Guardian ad Litem, vocational evaluators, business valuation experts, and others.)
Even under the best of circumstances, getting divorced is difficult. But the more patient and accepting you can be about the process, the easier (and cheaper) it will be. Being receptive to creative options and listening to your attorney’s cost-benefit analysis about certain issues can help you move through the process more quickly and economically. Digging in your heels to punish the other party or choosing costly battles over inexpensive items are sure-fire ways to increase the costs of your divorce.
Now, let’s talk about things you cannot control.
Your attorney cannot make your spouse be cooperative or forgiving. She cannot make them be honest. She cannot make them be a better parent. If your spouse is antagonistic, uncooperative, or is the type of person who will lie, conceal assets, or manipulate your children, we cannot generally stop them from escalating the divorce process — causing you to also incur additional fees and costs.
Some attorneys are better than others. When your spouse has chosen someone who is unresponsive, unavailable, or otherwise difficult to work with, it can slow down the process and make it both more difficult and more expensive.
As we’ve mentioned above, family courts are notoriously busy. This means you may not be able to get a hearing date for several weeks — or months! Your attorney also has no control over which judge is assigned to your case. Judges are human, too. They have their own personal preferences and idiosyncrasies that you and your lawyer cannot control. This means that sometimes the court is an inadvertent roadblock to a quick and cost-effective resolution of your case.
Sometimes your lawyer employs experts to help with your case. Other times, the court may appoint experts to help the judge understand your case issues or make recommendations to the judge about your case. Again these experts (such as business valuators, family therapists, Guardians ad Litem, or forensic accountants) may create additional costs or delays that you have no control over.
We know that trying to keep costs down during such a strenuous period of your life can pose quite a challenge. If you’d like to learn more about how these things can affect your divorce costs, or to get a transparent and detailed quote for services, feel free to reach out to us — we’re happy to set up a time for you to chat with one of our experienced family attorneys.
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