Top 5 Ways to Keep Divorce Costs Down
The litigation process – whether related to Family Law or otherwise – has a notorious reputation for being a costly enterprise at the best of times.
But it doesn’t always have to be so. There are many ways to keep litigation costs and legal fees to a minimum. Here are some of the key ways:
1. Discuss as much as possible up-front.
Even before either of you have hired a lawyer, you should try to have a few long, dispassionate discussions with each other, to see what the key points of contention are going to be. Something that you presume will be a point of heated battle with your spouse may not actually matter to them at all. The earlier you can identify the true issues, the sooner they will get resolved.
2. If you are going to settle anyway, do it early.
Not every family law dispute is destined for court. If – based on factors such as your relationship history, personalities, and respective financial situations – you sense that you and your former partner will likely be able to come to terms at some point, then try to do it early on. The further along the more unimportant issues get dragged along in the legal process, the higher the overall costs will be.
3. Use mediation wherever possible.
Even once litigation has been formally commenced, you can use mediation to come to terms on some of your unresolved legal issues. Again, this will serve to narrow down to a smaller list those items (if any) that truly have to be addressed and determined by a court.
4. Take the high road.
In too many divorce cases, costs get needlessly ratcheted up due unnecessary acrimony, mud-slinging, delay tactics, and power plays on both sides. You and your spouse both need to understand that you will save yourselves time, stress, and money by keeping the needless posturing and hostility to a minimum.
5. Hire a good Family Lawyer.
An experienced lawyer with the right approach will save – rather than cost – you money. His or her ultimate duty (and one that is reinforced through the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct) is to help you navigate through the divorce process effectively and efficiently. A good lawyer will therefore quickly identify areas of common ground and issues that might be ripe for settlement, and will determine the best approach for getting optimum results for you.