Anyone who has contemplated divorce knows that divorce can be expensive. In fact, the financial cost of divorce is often a factor in the decision to move forward with a divorce. If you have decided that divorce is in your future, there are ways to keep the costs associated with your divorce down. Toward that end, Fort Worth divorce attorney Jon Boyd offers five things you can do to keep the cost of divorce in check.
Do Not Blindside Your Spouse. Sometimes there is no way to prevent a divorce from becoming adversarial; however, one way to almost guarantee that it will be adversarial is to blindside your spouse with a petition for divorce without giving him/her any advance notice. Since adversarial almost always equals expensive, it is best to at least start out the process as amicably as possible.
Hire an Experienced Attorney. One of the most common – and most expensive –mistakes people make when going through a divorce is to try and go the “DIY” route. The assumption is that foregoing the assistance of an attorney will reduce the cost of a divorce. Often, however, the opposite is true. Unless you have no minor children, virtually no debts or assets, and you and your spouse agree on absolutely everything related to the divorce, going the DIY route will likely cost you both time and money that you could have saved by hiring an experienced divorce attorney.
Complete Documents Truthfully and Timely. Part of the divorce process is known as the “discovery” process. During discovery you will likely be asked to complete documents, produce records, and answer questions. It can seem like an exhausting – and somewhat unnecessary – task; however, failing to answer completely and truthfully and/or produce the requested documents will inevitably lead to delays. It will also require your attorney’s office to follow up to the necessary answers/documents which, in turn, will increase your bill because it means more work for your attorney.
Be Economical about Contacting Your Attorney. For many people, a divorce is their first real experience with the judicial system and, by extension, the first time they have hired an attorney. Consequently, they are unfamiliar with the concept of a retainer and exactly what is charged against that retainer. Every time you contact your attorney, over the phone, via email, or through any other medium, you will likely be charged for the time it takes your attorney (or a staff member) to read/listen and respond. Those 15-minute phone calls can add up quickly. While access to your attorney is crucial during a divorce, try and be economical with your calls/emails/texts. Unless it is a true emergency, make a list of questions/concerns and try to address them all during a single communication.
Avoid Litigation. Without a doubt, the single biggest factor in determining how expensive a divorce will be is how contentious the parties choose to be. The more litigious a divorce is, the more hours the attorneys on both sides must devote to the divorce. The more hours an attorney spends working on a case, the higher the bill will be. While there are situations wherein litigation cannot be avoided, most of the time it can be avoided if the parties will simply try to leave the emotions out of the negotiating process and be reasonable. Take a step back and ask yourself if fighting over the living room furniture is really worth an extra ten hours of your lawyer’s time? Often, the subject of the dispute is worth less than the cost of litigating it.
If you are contemplating divorce, or have already made the decision to move forward with a divorce, contact an experienced Fort Worth divorce attorney at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.