Litigation of any kind may be expensive, and divorces are no exception. There are some things you can do to control costs, including the following:
- Put it in writing. Instead of calling your attorney with a question, consider providing it to your attorney by mail, fax, or e-mail. This will create an accurate record and it may take less time for your attorney to answer than playing telephone tag.
- Keep your attorney informed. Your attorney should keep you up to date on the status of your case. You should do the same with your attorney. Advise your lawyer about any significant developments in your life including a change of address, change of employment, change of income, or purchase or sale of property. During your divorce, if your contact information changes, be sure to notify your attorney. Your attorney may need to reach you with information, and reaching you in a timely manner may help avoid more costly fees later.
- Obtain copies of documents. An important part of divorce discovery includes the collection of documents, such as tax returns, account statements, credit card statements, and medical records. These records may be available at your fingertips. It is far easier and less costly for you to obtain the information than for your attorney to do so.
- Review your attorney’s website. The answers to commonly asked questions about the divorce process may often be found on your attorney’s website. Check www.vhdlaw.com for valuable divorce information.
- Get to know the support staff at your lawyer’s office. Although not able to provide legal advice, the receptionist, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, or law clerk may be able to answer your questions regarding the status of your case. All communication with your attorney’s staff is required to be kept strictly confidential.
- Consider working with an associate attorney. You may find that working with an associate attorney is a good option. Hourly rates for an associate attorney are typically lower than those charged by a more experienced attorney. Frequently, the associate attorney has trained under the more experienced lawyer and has developed good trial skills, legal knowledge, and divorce litigation experience.
- Leave a detailed message. If your attorney knows in advance why you are calling, your attorney can be prepared to answer your question when he or she talks to you. This not only gets your answer faster, but it also reduces costs.
- Discuss more than one matter during a call or e-mail. If your question is not urgent, consider waiting to call until you have more than one question. Whenever possible, provide information requested by your lawyer in a timely manner. This avoids the cost of follow up by your lawyer and the additional expense of extending litigation.
- Carefully review your attorney statements. Scrutinize your billing. If you believe an error has been made, contact your lawyer’s office to discuss your concerns.
- Remain open to settlement. Trial costs money and can polarize relationships. Although a trial is sometimes inevitable, there are circumstances when a negotiated settlement is in the best interest of all involved.
If you have any questions about divorce, feel free to contact Attorney Linda S. Vanden Heuvel 1-800-805-1976.