Top Ten Ways to Save Money in Divorce
1. Choose your Divorce Attorney carefully
The best way to get feedback on an attorney is to get a referral. Ask your friends and colleagues for input on local attorneys. If you don’t have a referral, many family law attorneys offer free consultations. Meet with your prospective lawyer and determine if they are right for you.
2. Don’t be mislead by hourly rate
Divorce Lawyers with lower hourly rates may bill more hours and cost you more than a seasoned attorney with a higher hourly rate. Look for experience and efficiency rather than rate alone.
3. Be organized
If you bring in a suitcase full of documents for your attorney, it is going to take many costly hours for them to go through it all. Only bring the key documents that your attorney needs to review.
4. Be efficient in your communication
The more succinct you are in your phone, e-mail, and attorney client meetings, the more money you are going to save.
5. Don’t let your emotions rule your business sense
It’s totally understandable that personal items have special meaning. You may want to consider if all personal items are worth fighting over. If there is a coffee table that would easy sell for under $100 on Craigslist, you may not want to spend $1000 arguing over it.
6. Follow your Divorce Attorney’s advice
Attorneys advise their clients based on extensive experience and not following their advice may result in unnecessary motions and additional litigation. For example, if there is a restraining order in effect to not sell any household items, it would not be a good idea to sell them on eBay.
7. Provide full disclosure
If you do not provide full disclosure, it could result in costly discovery motions. For example, if your wife knows you have three bank accounts and you only provide one there may be additional actions that may increase the costs of your divorce. The act of not providing full disclosure may also jeopardize your credibility with the judge.
8. Follow court orders
If a court order is in place, take it very seriously. If you are thinking about an action that may be in violation of a court order, don’t take the action until you have consulted with your Attorney.
9. Hire the proper experts through your Divorce Attorney
There are experts that can be hired for valuation purposes. Experts may include investigators, forensic accountants, and psychologists. If you have real reason to believe that your husband is hiding his business income, it may be worth the added cost to hire a forensic accountant. Talk to your attorney to determine if this makes sense for you.
10. Think of your assets from a long term perspective
If the family home is up for negotiation in your divorce, consider the current value (price of the last home sold in your neighborhood minus what you owe) and determine if it’s worth fighting for. If your home has decreased in value and you know you want to live in it for many years, it may be a good time to purchase the house from the spouse as the value will likely increase over time due to current market conditions. If stock options or retirement accounts are being divided, think about their current value compared to their possible future value.