How do I keep my legal expenses down during a divorce?
A major thing is to remember why you hired me. You hired me to get you through the process and to get you a good result financially and with your children. You didn’t hire me to be your therapist, and I’m a terrible therapist. You didn’t hire me to hold your hand. All of that’s very expensive. You don’t get much from me with that because that’s not what I’m qualified to do. I often suggest to my clients that you make sure you have a solid support group in place; and that may be friends, it may be family, it may be a professional therapist. Make sure that you’re not using your lawyer as a therapist or your lawyer’s staff as therapists because you’re going to be very disappointed.
The other thing is do what you can do by yourself and do it as quickly as your lawyer asks you to do it. There are a lot of financial documents that need to be pulled together. There are financial affidavits that need to be filed. The quicker you can pull those things together, the better because your lawyer’s not spending your money chasing after you to get the documents that are needed. The other thing I suggest is that you gather all of the documents early.
There is something called the “discovery process,” where you’re asking the other side to produce documents. If they are not willing to do that as quickly as you need to do it, the discovery process can be very expensive. I suggest clients gather the information first; and it’s a lot easier to get the information from you, the client, than to get it through the formal discovery process or the other side. Take this seriously because if you don’t see it as something that you have to direct your focus on and your attention to, it can take a lot longer. Not only does that become more expensive, but it also takes an emotional toll the longer the process.