If you and your spouse are considering divorce after a lifetime of accumulating assets, sorting out all the details regarding property division, spousal maintenance and even child support can get expensive. To keep legal fees down, you may want to consider the following tips to reduce the costs of getting a divorce.
- Avoid a trial. Litigating a divorce in court is sometimes unavoidable if divorcing couples simply cannot agree but if you work with an experienced attorney who has a long track record of successful negotiations, you will likely be able to settle your case beforehand.
- Consider family law mediation. If you and your spouse agree about most things, it may be worthwhile to enlist the services of a third party mediator to help you to reach an agreement on the unresolved items. Mediation helps couples save money because they are able to communicate directly, cutting out the middle man (your respective attorneys).
Mediators hail from various backgrounds from social workers and clergy to attorneys. Hiring a mediator who also practices family law is a plus because you can feel confident that all legal issues are addressed. The Lake county Family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC offer mediation services, which can potentially keep costs down.
- Another option is a collaborative divorce, where both you and your spouse hire your own attorneys who work together with both partners to reach an agreement. This differs from a more typical client attorney relationship because negotiation is at the heart of the process, whereas an attorney hired to litigate a divorce strongly advocates for their client’s interests exclusively, but certainly negotiation is part of the process also.
- Partners and associates at a firm typically charge different hourly rates for their respective legal services. You may be able to lower the attorney fees in your divorce if you work with an associate attorney who are experienced and knowledgeable. To keep costs down, you may be able to leave the heavy lifting to a partner, with presumably more experience, while asking that an associate or even a paralegal handle other aspects of your divorce.
- Ask around. It is important to meet with a few attorneys before deciding who to work with. Ask them questions about their experience handling a case similar to yours, how your case will likely progress, and what attorney or other fees you can expect. Ask friends or coworkers for referrals to narrow down your list. Many people who have gone through the divorce process will tell you that taking the time to find a good fit is important and can save you money.
- Getting a divorce often involves dividing marital assets such as a home, retirement accounts, personal items and more. Whether you decide to enlist the help of a mediator, choose a collaborative, or pursue more traditional divorce, preparing for your divorce by gathering all pertinent financial records cannot be overstated – being organized can save you a bundle. Put together tax returns, back statements, pay stubs, retirement account statements, titles and deeds – any documentation regarding assets and debts to streamline the division of marital property.
Thoughtfully considering the overall divorce process and what goals you hope to achieve can help you save money when seeking a divorce. If you have questions regarding an Illinois family law matter, contact the Lake county attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC at 847-680-4970.