The cost of divorce can be high no matter what state you live in. Many people look to self-representation to save money on their divorce, but it can end up costing you more in the long run and for most people this option isn’t feasible. Hiring an attorney to handle your divorce is the best way to protect your assets.
This doesn’t mean, hiring an attorney has to cost a fortune. There are several things you can do while working with a divorce lawyer to keep the cost of divorce down in Georgia. Here are three tips for reducing legal fees in your divorce.
1. Time is money.
Most attorneys bill on an hourly basis in 6-, 10-, or 15- minute increments. If your lawyer bills in 6-minute increments and a meeting takes 13 minutes, you will be paying for 18 minutes. So make sure you are making the most out of the time you spend with your lawyer.
Plan ahead and be prepared for meetings and phone calls with your divorce attorney. Have a list of questions ready and make the call when you are free of distractions. Stick to the point or the matter immediately at hand, but don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring up issues on the fly.
Finally, keep in mind that email is the best method of communication with your attorney whenever possible. Most lawyers bill phone calls and meetings the same way, but emails are often billed individually and can be a more streamlined method of exchanging information. However, it is still important to limit emails as much as possible if you want to keep the cost of divorce down.
2. Be responsive and provide as much legwork as possible.
Throughout your case your attorney will request information from you. Answer all inquiries and complete all forms as quickly as possible. You are being billed every time your attorney’s office calls or emails to remind you to complete this paperwork.
Some forms you receive will be for your attorney and their employees only, while others are to be submitted to the courts. It is important that this information is correct and complete. Any questionable paperwork or forms could increase the time your lawyer spends on your case.
Another thing that you can do to keep the cost of divorce down in Georgia is to help do some of the legwork. Provide all related documents you have available and go on fact finding missions when you’re not sure about something. Gathering your own evidence and information moves your case along more swiftly and decreases the amount of time the attorney’s staff works on discovery and research.
This includes things like dividing personal property. Dividing personal property like furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc. is typically straightforward. Even if there are a few items that need to be worked out in mediation or in court, dividing as much as possible in advance saves you both time and money later. Make sure you keep a list of what was divided and how.
3. Choose your divorce attorney wisely.
The right divorce lawyer can make or break your case – and your wallet. There are several things you should discuss with the attorney to determine how expensive the divorce would be. Discuss the up front retainer fees required, any monthly retainer required, and additional hourly rates. Make sure you understand exactly what is included in the retainer and what you will be billed for, as well as how much and how frequently.
It is important to have a clear written fee agreement that details exactly what you will be charged for and how. Read this document carefully. If there are no fees listed for the time spent by legal staff other than the attorney themselves, ask for clarification to make sure you know what you will be billed for their time as well. Some attorneys include this in their hourly fee while others bill for their staff’s time separately.
When it comes to saving money on your divorce in Georgia, Vayman and Teitelbaum, P.C. is the clear choice. We know this is a difficult time and we try to decrease the financial stress as much as possible. Our rates are fair, and we ensure that all fees are laid out in detail before you retain our services so that you know how to keep the cost of your divorce down with our firm. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.