According to Avvo Research, at any given time in the US, 4% of married couples are in the process of separating or getting a divorce. If you’re in that group, you’re likely worried about how expensive divorce can be and wondering if you can afford a good divorce attorney. Yes, your assets are being split and household income is cut in half. But you can stretch your resources by following these five cost-effective solutions, which will allow your lawyer to use your retainer to focus on the most important legal matters.
- Expand your divorce team.
It may seem financially counterproductive to hire more people to help you through your divorce. However, a therapist can be economical when you need to pour your heart out, while a financial analyst can help you get a handle on money matters now and for the future. You’ll be better equipped to speak knowledgeably with your attorney about the kind of divorce settlement you want when you are emotionally stable and financially aware.
Whether they’re called divorce concierges, divorce coaches, or divorce consultants, there are experts ready to support you in your daily life as you deal with the labor-intensive divorce process. From child care to pet care, downsizing to document-gathering, the right divorce helper takes the reins so you can focus where needed – like maintaining your employment, seeking employment, or taking care of your family.
- Don’t do it yourself.
Avoid taking the “easy” way out with a DIY plan or pursuing a quickie divorce because you think it will cost less. The margin for error is enormous and misinterpreting legalese or filing the wrong documents will force you to hire a divorce attorney anyway to fix your costly mistakes. You’ll end up paying more overall. Instead of going the DIY route, consider using an affordable, fixed-fee legal service.
- Don’t be difficult.
One of the most important elements of divorce negotiations is flexibility. Your divorce may be acrimonious, but being difficult about inconsequential matters just to spite your soon-to-be ex will only demand more work for your attorney and cost you more money. Make divorce settlement choices with your head, not your spleen.
- Ask questions at the start.
Most divorce attorneys will provide you an initial free consultation. At that first meeting, ask questions about how your retainer will be used. What is the best use of your attorney’s time? When can a paralegal or other expert be of service? Are there tasks that can you manage yourself, to avoid eating up your retainer? You can better prepare for the meeting by learning more about how much divorce costs and using this divorce calculator to get a better idea of what alimony may look like after the matter.
Your divorce attorney will draw on your retainer throughout your divorce whenever he or she files a motion, takes your phone call, answers an email, and more. Your divorce attorney will also respect your desire for an efficient and cost-effective divorce, and support the hiring of outside help to save you money. They want to make the most of your retainer, too, and to serve you well in your divorce.