When a marriage is truly over, the arguments have stopped a long time ago. In many cases, all that is left to do is the legal work, and this is where divorce attorneys come in. They are supposed to be used to tie up any legal issues when it comes to divorce, but some people use them as weapons against their ex partner. It is going to cost you some money to get divorced, no matter what state you live in. Here are a few tips you should take onboard if you do not want to end up paying over the odds for your legal help.
1 - Come to an amicable agreement beforehand
This is the best way of ensuring that your divorce does not become messy. Some couples do not part on the best terms, but you will both have to put your feelings to one side when it comes to your divorce, or your lawyers will charge you everything you have. Do not just try to thrash out any division of property issues beforehand. You should also consider terms for future meeting, such as a monthly meeting in a natural and public place. These meetings are used to ensure that each party is keeping up to speed and up to date with the proceedings. Do not rely on lawyers to contact lawyers for this, because the lawyers will play games with each other (on your money).
Be careful of making phone calls to your lawyer, as many of them have an hourly rate and will include phone calls. Many of them also bill you by minimum units, for example, a five-minute phone call may incur a fifteen-minute consultation charge because fifteen minutes is the smallest fee unit that your lawyer has. Find out what the minimum charge unit is and then make sure that you get the most out of it as possible. If the minimum charge is for fifteen minutes, then stay on the phone 14 minutes and 59 seconds and ask several questions at once.
2 - Consider you potential loss against the potential lawyer fee
You have to look at things through an accountant’s eyes. You have may paid lots of money for your double bed, but it is not worth fighting for when you take legal fees into account. For example, let’s say you buy a bed at $600. Secondhand it is now worth $270, and you fight for it in court. However, the time your lawyer spends on it comes to $190. You may think that by winning your double bed that you are now $80 up on the deal, but this is not the case. What has happened is that you now own a bed that is worth $270, that you paid $790 for ($600 + $190).
You have to take a cold hard look at your possessions and decide what is really worth going to court over. In an ideal world you would like to think that things are split evenly, but this is often not the case.
Make sure you take all of your required documents to court, since rescheduling judges will cost you extra money. Be honest with your lawyer and do not hide anything that may interfere with your case later on. You can share a lawyer if you like, but it is not recommended unless you are fully aware of everything that is going on, since ignorance is often the biggest expense when it comes to getting a favorable decision/ruling.
3 - Hire an experienced lawyer to do your bidding
An experienced attorney will be able to get the job done faster, which is going to be helpful for you in the long run. An experienced attorney may charge more, but may also take less time, and therefore bill you for fewer hours. Explain your concerns about billable hours as you shop around for a lawyer. Make them aware that as an experienced lawyer you are happy to pay them a higher hourly fee, but you have the understanding that the job will be done quicker and more efficiently than a lower-hourly-rate attorney.
Do not forget to prepare for your divorce. Your attorney consultations are liable to cost you money, so makes sure that you take all of your legal information with you. Make sure to take all of your paperwork, and make sure it is organized so that you can find the piece you need when you need it. Find out in advance the sort of things you need to bring, but do not ask your attorney straight away. Look for advice online as for what to take with you, otherwise you will probably be charged for asking your lawyer what you should bring. Having your paperwork organized in advance will reduce the amount of time your lawyer needs to work, and therefore reduce your fees.
4 - Shop around for the right attorney
You should do this, but you should do it amicably. In some states, if you have a consultation with an attorney then that attorney is no longer able to represent your ex partner. If you run around every attorney’s office and have a consultation then it is not a very amicable thing to do.
Shop around and get an estimate from a few attorneys. This does not mean that you should hire the cheapest attorney you can find, because that will probably end up costing your more in losses. But do shop around to ensure that you are not paying over the odds for your legal representation.
You need to find out if the legal disbursements are included within the lawyers estimate. If they are then you need to find out how much, and work out the monetary value of the quote. Be careful of the smaller expenses, such as a courier fee. The jokes about lawyers charging a lot of money are not pulled from the air. They have been known to charge thirty dollars for moving a registration document up two floors of a building. Courier fees are what are known as legal fee padding and you need to watch out for it. If you try to question any fee padding after the fact then you will find yourself out of luck, because there is nothing you can do about it.