The overriding aim of the divorce process is to try to reach a position of equity, or fairness, between the parties.
Here are 7 tips for saving money on legal fees
Limit unnecessary communication – save up non-critical communications for one email or one meeting – time is money!
Clarify the quote provided by your lawyer – ensure you understand exactly what the quote your lawyer gives you at the beginning (and at various points throughout your case) covers.
Think about settling earlier as you may end up spending more on legal fees than making any incremental gain by going to court.
To save money on legal fees do things yourself if you can and are permitted to do such as photocopying, delivering documents to third parties, and requesting documents or public records that are necessary to your case. You could even act as an assistant on your own case. This is referred to as “self-help” in legal circles. (EqualExes can also cost-effectively assist you with ‘getting organised’ for divorce and hold your hand as you go through the process focusing on the legal, financial, parenting, new beginnings and your wellbeing).
Be prepared for meetings with your lawyer ahead of time. You will cover more ground during those meetings and will potentially require further meetings overall. This could help you save money.
Keep accurate and complete records – this will help you save money as it will ensure your lawyer’s job is easy as possible. You will not achieve this, if you simply fire off various documents to your lawyer whenever you come across them in your filing cabinet. Compile a complete chronology and set of related documents at the beginning of your case and provide them to your lawyer on one go on a USB or other portable device is the most cost effective way to go.
Be response and meet deadlines – Try to respond as quickly as possible to requests from your lawyer. This is important as you are more likely to catch your lawyer while they are still focused on your case and they may be able to complete the task at hand before they move onto another client. Secondly, if your lawyer has to make several attempts to get hold of you, they may need to spend time refreshing their memory of the issue before speaking to you at later date, which can take up more of their time and potentially more of your money.
Sourced and adapted from The New Zealand Family Court Survival Guide (Katrina Smithson)
If you’d like to talk to me about any issues you face in divorce, please book a FREE 15-minute call.