Divorce is expensive. My office focuses on providing value for the clients. While we do everything we can do to provide maximum value at minimal cost there are many things a client can do to reduce his or her fees.
- Talk to the Assistants/Paralegals before Talking to the Attorneys
Assuming that your attorney is the only person in the office who can help with your case is one of the most expensive misunderstandings a person can make. Each case in our office is assigned a paralegal. Paralegals can not give you legal advice, but they still know all the facts and even strategies of the case. If you have a question, ask a paralegal first and they’ll generally charge you about half as much for their time. Legal assistants and paralegals are especially good to ask for updates, and general questions about court and the legal process.
- Limit Your Phone Calls and Emails
Remember, a lawyer has to charge you for their time, even if it’s for little things. People can rack up huge bills from calling too much, especially if it’s for simple updates. Remember, lawyers are required by law to forward you any document generated from court. Court documents will always list the answers to any general questions you might have, including your upcoming court date, the court room, and the outcome of the previous court date. Being a little patient and waiting for those letters to come before asking a question can be a great way to pinch a lot of pennies.
Sending long emails that require long email responses are even more expensive, however. To adequately explain something in writing takes at least twenty minutes when a 5 minute phone call would have sufficed. In this case, a phone call is preferable.
An in-person meeting is by far the most cost effective way to communicate with your attorney and the staff. In addition to being cost effective, an in-person meeting best updates you on the facts and strategy of your case.
- Double Check Your Work
When clients make silly mistakes, it can be a huge time suck for an attorney. Lots of errors on your part means that your attorney will have to reserve a ton of time carefully double check and review your work, and sometimes even set up a meeting just to clarify everything with you. When people mistakenly turn in inaccurate financial information, it can lead to horrible outcomes for their divorce. For this reason, a good lawyer will always work hard to make sure that every form you complete is perfectly accurate; and this can take a lot of time and effort when clients don’t complete forms, and ask questions if they’re confused. Failing to read things carefully or double check work can cost people hundreds, if not thousands of dollars sometimes. It also is the number one reason why a divorce can go on longer than expected. Remember- always check your work, and call if you have any questions. This can be a huge money saver.
- Stay Organized
Getting a divorce can involve a ton of paper work. Sometimes, people have to dig up financial records going back 5 years or more. If you have a case that requires you provide lot of financial documentation, make sure to organize those paper before giving them to the attorney. Having an attorney or a paralegal spend hours combing through a huge pile of unorganized papers is probably the easiest way to for a divorce burn through your wallet at lightning speed.
I can almost always guarantee that our bill will be lower, and better described than your spouse’s attorney’s bill. I take it as a point of pride that I provide excellent service to the rich and the working class alike. That being said, a divorce process is a partnership between the lawyer and the client. My staff and I will do our best to be efficient but we need the cooperation of the client as well. When everyone is working together, it is a pleasure for all parties to move you closer to your goal.
Contact my Chicago, Illinois law office if you have any questions.