Keep Your Divorce Costs Down in your Family Law Matter

6th October 2015

By Lisa Wagner

Keep Your Divorce Costs Down in your Family Law Proceedings

When you go through a divorce or separation there are always costs involved.  The emotional cost of separation and the costs of maintaining two homes can be really significant.  You need to do what you can to keep in control of the additional costs of legal representation.

Here are our TOP 7 TIPS to help you save money on legal costs if you are going through divorce or separation and you need a family lawyer in Sydney:-

  • Keep Your Eye On The Bottom Line
    Do your best to look at your divorce or separation as a business transaction as hard as that may be.  It does not make any sense to pay us $500 to get you something worth only $25.  Your frame of mind in divorce or separation can often be one of the most significant components of the entire case and can have a huge bearing on how the case is run and ultimately how expensive the matter is for you.  This is equally true of your ex-partner and spouse.  If you are facing a former spouse who is resentful or hostile towards you it is likely the action is going to take longer and your fees are going to be greater than what they would otherwise have to be.

  • Do Your Homework
    The more work you can do for us the less work we will have to do for you.  Generally we need a lot of information and you are our best source for this.  Completing checklists and questionnaires that we ask you to work on assists us to gather this information in an efficient way.  This is a really good opportunity for you to save money.  Completing this “homework” means we don’t need to gather the information from elsewhere.  This can save you a lot of money.

  • Be Your Own Legal Assistant
    Not only do we require lots of information from you but it is also usually the case that this information needs to be shared with the other side.  Being your own “legal assistant” and providing us with copies of documents means that we do not have to take time to copy documents and this can be a huge saving in overheads for you.

  • Your Divorce Lawyer is Not Your Counsellor
    Divorce or separation is particularly stressful and in our experience you need somebody you can talk with about the emotional issues you face.  We are not trained in this area and so engaging the services of a Counsellor to help you or relying on a friend may be a more appropriate alternative at times.

  • Be Open To Compromise
    Not many spouses “win” in a divorce.  It is more a question of how well the mutual loss is controlled.  Keeping a “middle of the road” approach often makes sense.  Being flexible and creative in your thinking and working towards a settlement rather than remaining entrenched in a position is a good headspace to be in.  The more amicable the conduct between you and your “ex” the more likely the matter can be resolved quickly which ultimately keeps your legal costs down.

  • Use Your Time with us wisely 
    Like most service professionals (e.g. doctors, accountants) we bill in incremental units of time.  As soon as we start working on your matter you are charged in blocks of 6 minutes of time.  To help you maximise the efficiency of our billing system it is always best to plan ahead before meeting with us or talking to us on the telephone.  Save your questions for one conversation rather than ringing every time you have something on your mind.  This can result in significant savings for you.

  • You Get What You Pay For
    You should not forsake good legal support.  Hiring a professional Family Lawyer in Sydney is expensive.  However hiring an amateur divorce lawyer can cost you more in the long run.  Getting proper legal advice is highly beneficial and can reduce your stress by providing you with clarity about your rights in the legal process.

Your Action Plan:

  • Get legal advice early on from an experienced Family Lawyer;
  • Make notes along the way of the questions you want answered;
  • Don’t try to prepare complicated documents on your own. You may save money at the start but this can become more expensive later when we need to fix any mistakes that have been made in the absence of proper legal advice;
  • Don’t try to use litigation or protracted settlement discussions as a way to punish your “ex”.  Your ex’s past behaviour or even their present attitude may be unpleasant or even abusive but it’s best to concentrate on the bigger picture and secure a sensible agreement as soon as possible;
  • Provide full disclosure of all your financial interests.  A failure to disclose any financial interests can have a devastating effect on any agreement you reach with your ex and can also significantly add to your legal costs;
  • Keep us fully informed of all significant events but be aware – it’s not necessary to copy us in on the details of day to day interactions with your ex unless this is part of a “bigger” picture that is causing difficulties and needs a legal solution.

As your Family Lawyer, Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers take on our role with a strong depth of knowledge and experience, and with great respect for you our client.  We understand that you may be in a stressful and emotional frame of mind when you meet with us and because of this we want you to take the time to understand the above tips.  If you are able to take our tips on board we are confident that you will be able to keep your legal costs at a reasonable level and reach the right outcome for you.  If you are looking for advice about divorce or separation and have questions about the costs involved, contact us on 94370010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss in complete confidence. We are conveniently situated in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and have a team of experienced and caring professional Family Lawyers available to help you.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

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