8 Tips to Help You Keep Your Divorce Attorney's Legal Fees Low
Getting divorced can come with expensive legal fees, fees that can be particularly high when you need to litigate in court. Whether your circumstances require litigation or not, it's important to adopt practices that don't raise your legal bills unnecessarily. If you're hiring a lawyer to help you through a divorce, the tips here can help you keep your legal fees as low as possible.Book Telephone Appointments Whenever You Need to Speak to Your Lawyer
Lawyers bill you for every voicemail that they leave you, and for every voicemail from you that they need to listen to. Voicemails may be a good idea when someone needs to communicate a simple idea; complicated ideas that require repeated back-and-forths, however, can turn out to be expensive. If you need to discuss a complex topic with your lawyer, it's a better idea to book a phone appointment, and discuss it.Be Forthcoming With all Relevant Information
Some people are comfortable communicating, and tend to easily offer their lawyers all the information about their case that they could need. Others tend to be reticent, requiring their lawyers to spend time drawing them out for required information. Being as forthcoming as possible and offering your lawyer all relevant information about your case could save you on billable hours. It's important to open up with your lawyer.Get Your Documents Organized
When you enter divorce proceedings, your lawyer requires you to provide them with a complete set of documents to enable them to work on your case. If you're thorough and organized, they won't need to waste billable hours finding out what documents are missing, and pursuing you to get them. Your lawyer will usually provide you with a list of documents that you need to produce for the file - documents to do with your income, tax returns, marital debts, pension funds, real estate, cars owned, mortgages, life insurance, bank accounts, and other things. Being thorough and organized about presenting your lawyer with these documents will help save you lawyer's fees.Communicate Through Voicemail or Email Wherever Necessary
In-person meetings with lawyers are usually more expensive than communication made over phone calls, voicemail, or email. Making sure that you check your voicemail and email regularly, and answering promptly, saves you money.Be Very Brief in all Your Communications
In general, email is more time-efficient than phone conversations. Communicating with your lawyer through short, to-the-point emails, wherever possible, can help you save billable hours. Many people tend to write long, rambling emails that don't have their points bulleted out for easy absorption, a mistake to avoid. Being brief and well-organized in your communication can mean lower billed hours.Don't get Chatty With Your Lawyer
People going through divorce often see their lawyers as their friend or confidant, and talk to them about everything to do with their troubled marital relationships that comes to their minds. While it may feel good to talk to your lawyer about how unreasonable your spouse is, or about how unfair your situation is, you need to remember that your lawyer charges you for every minute that you spend with them. Many divorce attorneys refer their clients to therapists to make sure they have someone to talk to. Therapists tend to be more affordable than attorneys if you need a sympathetic ear. If you often unburden yourself to your lawyer, you should remember that there are friends or other professionals for that.Be on Friendly Terms With Your Lawyer's Staff
Lawyers tend to get procedural questions that, in reality, their saff could easily answer. If you have a good rapport with your lawyer's staff, you should be able to turn to them for answers to procedural and other questions that they can answer. For instance, the staff may be able to tell you if your spouse has served their reply to your application. It costs less per billable hour to use a staff's time than it does to use a lawyer.Be Timely and Dependable
When your lawyer asks you for a document, for information, or anything else, they charge you for the time that they spend pursuing you for these things until you give it to them. When you're prompt and responsive in responding to your lawyer's requests, you save money.
Finally, getting your case in front of a judge is a costly way to settle the terms of your divorce. It takes a great deal of a lawyer's time to prepare for and present a case in court. Your lawyer needs to arrange expert witnesses, parenting assessments, and so on, that add to their billable hours. Staying out of court saves money. If you have any questions concerning a divorce in NJ, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation.