Tips: How to lower the cost of your divorce
WAYS THAT YOU CAN REDUCE OR LIMIT THE ESCALATING COSTS OF DIVORCE
Legal Aid is swamped with increasing pressures and demands for its services. The number of people with an unlimited legal budget is dwindling quickly. This means that the vast majority of people separating are on a limited legal budget. All efforts made to reduce legal fees and stretch the legal budget becomes far more crucial. There are many ways that you can reduce your legal fees and Rachael Scharrer, divorce and relationship expert and founder of Divorce Answered, shares how you can lower your cost of divorce.
- Create a list of items you want to address with your lawyer. Every time you want an answer to a question, don’t send it straight away. Create a list and send it to your lawyer. It’s faster for your lawyer to respond to a list rather than individually in piecemeal. Make sure that you stick to the list and don’t deviate - This also improves your efficiency
- Email. Don’t call. When people talk, they tend to waffle and get side-tracked. When you email your lawyer, you can make you needs known in a concise manner and your lawyer can address your concerns efficiently
- You can use an associate or paralegal to do most of the work and consult your lawyer for strategy or advice when complicated. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you could ask to be attended to by a lower cost team member and pay for the advice of the more experienced lawyer as needed
- Do as much of the work as you can. Prepping emails, supplying documents in chronological order, being succinct with your needs/requests, filling out forms or submitting the documents to court
- Have a clear plan of what you want. When you have a clear plan and work your way towards that outcome, you are likely to be more consistent. When you are more consistent, the less your will spend on your divorce
- Choose appropriate alternative methods for reaching agreement. Mediation, collaborative law and arbitration are each great avenues to reach an agreement or settlement. Often while these options are often cheaper, they are far more efficient than the protracted court process
- Reach agreements yourself with your ex and have it documented and lodged at court. When you can reach an in principal agreement with your ex-spouse and approach your lawyer to have it written up or reviewed, you will make a huge saving even if amendments have to be made
- Have a Separation Strategist on your team. A Separation Strategist can help you get organised from the outset of the separation, coordinated throughout your journey and support you as you need (and when you need). A 45-minute Strategy Session has been incredibly valuable to many clients and is a fraction of the cost of your lawyer.
How long is a piece of string? It’s a challenging question without any answer. If you were asked from the outset of your separation “how much will you spend on legal fees?” I am sure that you wouldn’t have a clue. Despite not knowing how much you will spend on legal fees, you can consciously put some effort in how you act, think and handle your divorce to help reduce the cost of your divorce significantly.
24 Ways to stretch your legal budget in divorce