You do not have to spend a lot of money in your divorce! Check out the tips below to ensure that you get through your separation in a cost-effective way:
1. Consider Mediation over Litigation: Litigation can be expensive because it often increases conflict and requires a lot of work for your lawyer (which increases the costs on your end). Instead, try the mediation process - which is geared toward de-escalating conflict and reducing the amount of legal work on your file. Check out our youtube video here to learn more about the mediation process: https://youtu.be/_Q7C5ikO6uQ
2. Be Prepared and Organized: Before every meeting with your lawyer, make sure all your paperwork is organized. The more time your lawyer has to take to organize your documents or establish your time-line, the more money you will pay. Be sure to ask your lawyer for a list of information you need and tell the lawyer you will help compile that information, such as all relevant financial documents, property deeds, and tax returns.
3. Seek Emotional Support from Professionals: Divorce is emotionally challenging, and the stress can take a toll on your decision-making. Often times, it is the people who are struggling with their emotions who take unreasonable legal positions, thereby creating conflict and driving up legal costs. Instead, spend the time and money working with a therapist, religious mentor, or a local or online support group, to process your emotions and navigate the separation process with a clear head.
4. Inquire about "Unbundled Legal Services": in response to the prohibitive costs associated with separation/divorce, many family lawyers are now offering unbundled legal services. Unbundled legal services essentially isolate one aspect or one specific task that a client can hire a lawyer for, rather than full representation throughout the entire legal process. Examples include: document preparation, legal advice, or representation at a specific court hearing. This option allows individuals to manage some parts of their case independently, reducing legal expenses while still benefiting from professional guidance and support on specific legal matters.
5. Request a Junior Lawyer's Assistance: while your instinct may be to hire the most senior (and thereby the most expensive) lawyer you can find, your case may not actually require such a high level of expertise. If you're concerned about costs, find a law firm that employs both junior and senior lawyers. The junior lawyer will bill at a lower cost than the senior lawyer, but will still have the benefit of the mentorship and expertise of the senior lawyer.