7 Tips to Reducing the Cost of Your Divorce
Here are a few practical tips for keeping the costs associated with your divorce at a minimum and getting a cheap Arizona divorce. You don’t want your divorce expenses spiraling out of control. Of course there will be significant expenses, that is a given. But if you take a practical approach to each step in the divorce process, you can save yourself money.
Tip #1. Begin your divorce education today
You need to educate yourself on the family law issues relevant to your unique circumstances. This is one time when you really do need to do your homework, or you will pay the price for your lack of focus and understanding.
We have designed this website for you, so take full advantage of the legal information and resources available here — it’s convenient and it’s free.
When you set aside time to learn about an issue, child visitation for example, the more quickly you will grasp the legalities that your attorney needs to convey to you. The more quickly you grasp how the law applies to your case, the less you’ll pay in attorney fees. We believe our website to be the most comprehensive family law resource in Arizona.
We feature a discussion forum where people get their questions answered by a family law attorney.
We have a child support calculator so parents know what to expect with support obligations. In our extensive collection of easy-to-understand legal articles, we discuss important court cases and the laws affecting Arizona families. We have a special section devoted to military divorce and our service men and women. We also have free seminar videos on divorce and other family law matters, available to watch at your convenience when you need the help. Our website is a terrific resource for you and will significantly improve your legal knowledge. That knowledge will manifest itself in your improved efficiency, both in discussions with your attorney and in negotiations with your spouse.
Tip #2. If at all possible, avoid litigation to resolve disputed issues
Litigation is a very expensive method of resolving issues in your family law case, so it should be avoided whenever possible. Never use litigation as a means to punish your spouse or the other parent. You do have other very useful options. Whenever possible, agreeing to alternative dispute resolution methods (negotiation, mediation, ADR settlement conferences) to resolve as many issues as possible, if not all of them, will save you time and money. In that way, only the issues that simply cannot be agreed to are left for the court to decide with finality.
Tip #3. If you and your spouse agree on something, then write it down
When you and your spouse come to an agreement on an issue, such as parenting time during summer vacations, then write it down. That is one less issue to be resolved through negotiation, mediation, or litigation. You may actually find that you and your spouse are in agreement on a fair number of the major decisions that must be made.
Tip #4. Make sure the fee arrangement is reasonable before you hire the attorney
You need a lawyer who tells you upfront what the attorney fees will be. No attorney can predict what is going to happen as your case evolves, but he or she can anticipate the proceedings and how many attorney hours will be involved at each step. The attorney’s billable rate must be discussed at the initial consultation, otherwise you’ll have no idea what costs to expect. You need to know how you will be billed, how much of a “retainer fee” is required, and so on, so you can budget your costs throughout the case. The last thing you need is an attorney who routinely delays and drags things out, that approach to divorce will only cost you more money. You deserve efficiency and proficiency, nothing less.
Tip #5. Apply a cost-benefit analysis to every issue
Not every issue is worth fighting over, so be practical and selective about what you want to spend your attorney dollars on. Don’t let your emotions and frustrations obscure your rational thinking. When you look at an issue with a cost-benefit perspective, you’ll stay focused on getting the divorce finished and done with. For example, if you had to choose, would you prefer to pay your attorney to negotiate over a used-toaster with your spouse’s attorney? Or would you prefer to pay your attorney to negotiate spousal support? Which is really more important? It may seem silly, but people do get caught up in their emotions and what they perceive to be a fairness issue. When it comes to negotiations, focus on the important issues and let the little things, however frustrating, go by the wayside.
Tip #6. Letting your spouse’s lawyer do all the work will cost you in the end
Your spouse’s lawyer may be a real nice person, but he or she doesn’t work for you and is not looking out for your interests. Your penny-wise savings in letting opposing counsel determine your future will almost certainly be pound-foolish in the end.
Tip #7. You can do a lot of the work yourself, and that will save you money and help your attorney
The time you take to be fully prepared will save you money. When your attorney asks for photocopies of all of your financial accounts, for example, be thorough and provide complete copies. You want your attorney to be businesslike and efficient, you should be the same. Utilize your attorney’s time, don’t waste it. You don’t need to speak with your attorney, for instance, when your paralegal has the information for you. No matter which member of your legal team is on the telephone, keep your conversations organized and to the point. When you have a conference scheduled with your attorney, be fully prepared in advance. When in negotiations, take reasonable positions. Always keep in mind the need to steer clear of litigation if possible. Remember, time is money, and it is your money that we’re talking about.