Divorce or Separation 11 Ways to Save Money

A divorce or separation may be mentally and emotionally draining for those involved, but the divorce or separation process does not have to drain your finances.  

In this post our Principal Luke Shanahan will share 11 ways to save money in a divorce or separation. A divorce may be mentally and emotionally draining for those involved, but the divorce process does not have to drain your finances. You might ask yourself the question, “How can I find a family divorce lawyer near me on the Sunshine Coast that is affordable and has the skills to support my needs?”

Considering your finances before hiring a lawyer is important. Ask your family lawyer what their fees will be. Understanding the fee structure of a divorce lawyer is very important when deciding to proceed with a lawyer. When you hire a lawyer, you should understand any costs you may incur in Court. You should also consider the cost of a private investigator; this might be necessary to establish your case. 

Principal Sunshine Coast Family Lawyer Luke Shanahan suggests these 11 tips might help you save money for your divorce or separation.

11 tips on saving money when divorcing or separated.

 

1. Understand your fee agreement.

The fee agreement should tell you whether you will be charged for a paralegal or legal assistant’s time, if your family lawyer charges for travel, copying, mailing, and so forth. Be clear on what you will be charged for during the process and at what rate. You should be informed of the terms of the agreement in writing before the lawyer-client relationship begins. You should also feel comfortable discussing these charges with your lawyer. Let’s face it, you have a right to understand your charges and not be surprised with family law fees you were unaware of.

2. Be organized for a divorce or separation

Irrespective of whether you are planning for a meeting, sending an email, or making a phone call, ensure your thoughts are coordinated. Preparing a list of questions and points that you want to discuss with your lawyer will help you to remain focused and allow you to get the answers you need in a time-efficient way. 

Prepare: It is always a clever idea to prepare for a meeting with your lawyer. You will not only gain knowledge of the subject matter but also have an idea of what you want to discuss with your divorce lawyer. If you have a matter that you want to bring up with your family lawyer, make sure it is clear to them before the meeting. If you are unsure of anything, ask your lawyer beforehand. Do not assume that you know everything about your case. Always check what your lawyer has informed you. When seeking information online, look for a second opinion. Sometimes the information online can be outdated or incorrect. 

By organising your documents and records in a way that can easily be accessed, you will reduce the time spent in a meeting or call and can save yourself money that you may be billed for. We love organised clients. It means there’s a better chance of success. 

3. Fill out your financial disclosure statement

You have more insight into your finances than anyone else, so filling in the first draft of your financial statement using documents like credit card balances, mortgage statements, and tax returns will significantly reduce the time your lawyer needs to gather information on your behalf.

4. Choose your lawyer

The most important step is to choose a lawyer you are comfortable with. If you don’t like your lawyer, it will be extremely difficult for them to give you the best possible advice. Search in Google for “find a divorce lawyer near me”, then shortlist the lawyers with positive google feedback and start to break down a list of possible lawyers you could work with. Visit their websites and watch any videos they might have and find the best Sunshine Coast family lawyer for your case. 

5. Contact paralegals and legal assistants only when appropriate

Legal assistants and paralegals bill at lower rates than your lawyer. If you need answers on administrative issues like an update on your case or a court date, it is more cost-effective for you to contact the paralegal or legal assistant. Not only will it be quicker to get an answer, but it will also save you from being billed by your lawyer at higher rates for a quick question.

6. Hire the appropriate professionals for your divorce or separation

In addition to your lawyer, it may be necessary to hire other professionals. These professionals could include people like accountants and appraisers. The right professional can assist in providing valuations of privately owned businesses, identifying assets, valuing investments and property, and explaining the tax implications of different settlement options. Hiring the appropriate professional can save you time, but more importantly, getting a good evaluation will save you money. 

7. Take the emotion out of the process of a divorce or separation

It can be challenging to remove the emotions from your separation. However, it will save you time when you remember that you hired your lawyer to give you legal advice based on the facts of your legal matter. Other professionals can help you with the emotional aspect of what you are going through. Be honest and open about your feelings and talk to your lawyer if you feel your emotions are getting the better of you.  When your emotions aren’t in check you will find in most cases you’ll feel like the picture below, far-apart in everything you do including negotiations for settling everything amicably.

Couple far apart after divorce or separation

8. Reach an agreement on personal property items

When both parties can work together to divide the furniture and personal property, it significantly reduces the time your lawyer needs to be involved in disagreements over who receives the couch. Make a list of the items you want and exchange them with your spouse. Try and work through the list before finalising this with your lawyer. If there is an item you both want, consider the cost of the item. It does not make sense to pay each lawyer hundreds of dollars an hour to argue over a couch that is worth $500.

9. Consider alternative dispute resolution

Trials are expensive. You can reduce the expense of your case by working with a mediator. Mediation allows both parties to have more control and have a say in the outcome of their divorce. Even if you do not reach an agreement on all the issues, mediation can help narrow and limit the issues for trial. Reaching an agreement is always more cost-effective than litigation.

10. Be honest with your lawyer

Being upfront with your lawyer about all the potential issues in your case will allow your lawyer to form an effective plan on how to deal with each issue from the start. Concealing information or assets from your lawyer can be costly to you and, in some cases, warrant legal action.

11. Review your bills

As with all bills, it is critical to review them each month to ensure you understand what was charged for and to ask questions as soon as possible, rather than at the end of the case.

Conclusion – Saving money from a divorce or separation

A divorce or separation can be one of the hardest times of your life. It can also be one of the most important events in your life, which is why it’s important to work closely with your family lawyer. If you decide to represent yourself, be sure to learn as much about the Court system as you can. Stay positive and keep your emotions in check and enjoy the beautiful Sunshine Coast outdoors. We hope by the end of it you can both stand side by side, if you can you’re going to come through this with less spent on lawyer and court fees. 

Successful couple after divorce or separation

 

Shanahan Family Law offers a flat-rate service as well as a complimentary 15 minute consultation upfront to assess your situation. Book a time with our expert team today.

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