Cheap divorce lawyers often cost you more time and aggravation in the end. Nolo lists the average hourly fee for a divorce lawyer as $250, but this figure varies widely from $50 to $650. The level of assistance provided by the different lawyers varies, too. Some lawyers provide minimal assistance, while others offer full representation.
The key most important thing to remember is that cheap divorce lawyers don’t mean the divorce will be cheap.
How do you ensure a low-cost divorce?
You’ll need to:
1. Write Down Everything That is Important to You
Your lawyer’s time is what you’re paying for. If your lawyer has to figure of what’s important to you in a divorce without your help, you’ll end up with a much higher bill. Assist your lawyer by providing a list of the things that are important to you, such as:
- Financial security
- Retirement accounts
- Family home
The goal is to center your lawyer’s focus on the things that matter the most to you. If you don’t help your lawyer figure out what you want, their focus will be everywhere. But when you’re telling your lawyer what’s the most important aspects of the divorce to you, it leads to a much faster divorce.
2. Choose Your Battles Wisely
You and your soon-to-be ex will have arguments during a divorce. There are sure to be fights and disagreements. Sometimes, these disagreements will become very uncivil, and you’ll end up saying and doing things that are outside of your character,
The worst thing you can do at this point is make every aspect of the divorce into a lengthy battle.
It’s common to:
- Feel resentful
- Get angry
- Stay mad
But when you let all of your emotions go into overdrive and start to fight about every little aspect of the divorce, you’ll start to have issues. Learn to negotiate with your ex and try to come to agreements without the help of a lawyer.
If you want to have a cheap divorce, your absolute best option is to hash out the logistics on your own.
Forget about that piece of furniture that you feel like fighting about and negotiate. If you’re holding your ground for a $50 chair and occupy two hours of your lawyer’s time over this small chair, you’ll be losing money in the process.
3. Do a Lot of the Work Yourself
You can have your lawyer do all of the work, or you can do it yourself for free. Cheap divorce lawyers can help you organize all of your documents, or you can choose to:
- Gather all of your financial documents
- Gather retirement account information
- Gather investment information
- Gather asset information
And if you organize all of these documents and other relevant documents, you’ll be able to make your lawyer’s job much easier. Now, if you or your spouse decide to hide assets, this turns a simple divorce into a complex one,
Keeping your divorce costs low requires you to divulge information freely.
This means making everything honest and open. If you have money stashed away in the Cayman Islands, your spouse’s lawyer may be able to track this down, but the costs will be significant.
If you do most of this leg work on your own, you’ll cut down on your lawyer’s billable hours, saving you money in the long run.
4. Evaluate Your Need to Communicate
Divorce is complex, and if you communicate with your divorce lawyer, it costs you money. A lot of clients will call their lawyer for every little question they have, and this means more money out of their pocket.
It’s recommended that you:
- Write the question down
- Contact your lawyer only when you have multiple questions to ask
- Gather all of the details pertaining to your question
- Contact the lawyer’s paralegal first
Calls, e-mails and visits to your lawyer are costly, if you cut down on unnecessary communication, you’ll save yourself money. Your lawyer’s paralegal can often answer many of your questions without the added cost.
And if you’re honest with your lawyer, it will also help you save money.
A good lawyer, even if they’re not a cheap divorce lawyer, will help you reduce your divorce fees, reach a settlement that you deserve and put an end to your divorce quickly. It’s better to pay a little more in these cases than to drag out a divorce and run up your legal bills in the process.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing on men’s rights during a divorce. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has experience working with securing alimony for men. You can read more on this topic by visiting our Alimony Blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.