Money-saving tips for working with a family law attorney: Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about ways to save money during a divorce or other family law dispute. While some people will tell you to forego the use of an attorney altogether, this is usually not a good idea. The settlement you reach with your former spouse may be unbalanced, unfair and unable to meet your long-term needs.

Instead, it’s a good idea to work with an attorney you can trust, and save money by limiting billable hours in practical ways. In today’s post, we’ll discuss more of these cost-saving tips.

Many divorcees unintentionally generate a large bill because they make one or both of the following mistakes. The first mistake is to use your attorney/law firm as a therapy service. The second mistake is to drag out negotiation and mediation sessions because of disagreements with your ex-spouse.

Divorce is a difficult process, and you should not ignore the emotional, mental and psychological consequences of ending a relationship. That’s why many family law attorneys recommend that their clients make appointments with a therapist or counselor. While your attorney may be sympathetic to what you are going through, he or she cannot (and should not) provide the mental-health support you need during this difficult time. Moreover, such conversations would likely be less expensive with a therapist than with your attorney.

Finally, you can save a lot of time and money by picking your battles carefully. During negotiations or mediation sessions, some couples end up fighting over property that isn’t very expensive and is easily replaceable. What they’re actually fighting about, however, is the hurt and anger that they feel toward one another. Arguing over possessions often becomes an issue of trying to spite a former spouse.

For some possessions and some issues, such principled argument is warranted. Child custody is a good example. But if you are bickering about inexpensive and replaceable items, you should weigh the cost of replacing them against the cost of your attorney’s billable time.

Divorce can be expensive. But if it is handled well, the cost can be considered a good investment. After hiring an attorney, your divorce costs can be minimized if you make smart use of your attorney’s time and legal knowledge.

Source: the Huffington Post, “10 Ways to Help Cap the Cost of Divorce,” Janice Billman, Jan. 17, 2014

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