A divorce may be mentally and emotionally draining for those involved. Still, the divorce process does not have to drain your finances. You might ask yourself, “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?” In this post, our Principal, Luke Shanahan, will share 11 ways to save money in a divorce or separation.
Considering your finances before hiring a lawyer is essential. 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. It would be best if you also considered the price of a private investigator; this might be necessary to establish your case.
Eleven tips on saving money when divorcing or separating
#1 Understand your fee agreement
The fee agreement should state whether you will pay for a paralegal or legal assistant’s time and 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 know the terms of the agreement in writing before the lawyer-client relationship begins. You should also feel comfortable discussing these charges with your lawyer. You have a right to understand your costs and not be surprised by family law fees of which you were unaware.
#2 Organise for a divorce or separation
Irrespective of whether you plan for a meeting, send an email or make a phone call, ensure you coordinate your thoughts. Preparing a list of questions and points you want to discuss with your lawyer will help you 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 Sometimes the information online can be outdated or incorrect.
We love organised clients. Organising your documents and records to be easily accessible will reduce the time spent in a meeting or call and save you the associated charges. 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. Drafting your financial statement using documents like credit card balances, mortgage statements, and tax returns will reduce your lawyer’s time gathering that information.
#4 Choose your lawyer
The most crucial step is to choose a lawyer with whom you are comfortable. If you don’t like your lawyer, it will be challenging 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 break down a list of possible lawyers you would prefer. 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 will bill at lower rates than your lawyer. When 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. It will be quicker to get an answer and 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 proper 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 you’re emotional, 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 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 more control and a say in the outcome of their divorce. Even if you do not agree 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 potential issues in your case allows them effectively plan on dealing with each subject 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
It is critical to review your bills monthly to ensure you understand the expenses and to ask questions as soon as possible rather than at the end of the case.
Successful couple after divorce or separation
Shanahan Family Law offers a flat-rate service and a consultation to assess your situation. Book a time with our expert team today.
The information provided in this article is not legal advice; all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.