Time is money in divorce cases. Take the time to follow these steps and your wallet will thank you later.
Be Prepared. Many divorces these days are very document intensive, whether it be financial documents, tracing separate property assets from 30 years ago, or child-related issues. There are often boxes full of emails and text messages. One way to cut down on costs associated with divorce is to have all necessary documents prepared before you get to your attorney’s office. Clients can save money by helping attorneys organize any key documents. For instance, if a client says that they have $100,000 separate property interest in a retirement account, the attorney can send a letter alleging this – but without backup documentation, it’s going to be hard to get the other side to agree.
Be Responsive. You can also be responsive when your attorney asks for something. Some clients are not always responsive when asked to bring in certain documents because they are either busy or in denial. If you’re not responsive, you may face a motion to compel on a discovery request and end up spending unnecessary time in court. If you are responsive, that’s going to save you money. If a client provides all the documents on time to prove their claims, then the other side realizes that you have a realistic position, you’re prepared to go to trial, and you have your evidence to back up your position. At some point, that case is going to settle.
Be Reasonable. A good attorney will help their clients manage their expectations. Once the contested issues have been identified, the evidence has been looked at, and we know which judge will reside and in which court, then we can be realistic about the range of possible outcomes if this case went to court. Hearing that they’re not going to get everything they want and that they could actually lose on key issues encourages most clients to be reasonable and settle out of court.
If clients let their attorneys do their job, prepare in advance, and have reasonable expectations, everybody is going to save money in the process.