Divorces (or any family law issue, for that matter) can be very expensive. You'll never cut down a bill so much that it seems cheap, but there are some easy ways to keep the bill manageable.
1. Stay Organized
The more organized you are, the less time it will take your attorney to find the information they need. The less time it takes your attorney to find the information they need, the less wasted time they spend on your case. The less wasted time they spend on your case, the lower your bill!
2. Make Your Own Copies and Redact Your Personal Identifiers
It may be easier to have your lawyer or their support staff make copies of important documents or to redact your personal identifiers (e.g., all but the last four digits of your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, etc.) so you don't have to deal with the headache, but keep in mind - you'll probably pay 20-30% more than it would cost to do it yourself.
3. Save Up Your Questions
In our normal lives, we text, email, tweet, and call all day. But in the legal world, each time an attorney receives a communication, they charge for it. That's why its important to combine your questions into single emails, phone calls, or meetings. By combining your thoughts, you limit the number of communications to your attorney, but can get the same resolution for a lower fee.
4. Proofread Your Documents
As you go through your divorce, you may be asked to provide a variety of documents, including written statements or letters. Take the extra time to proofread what you write before you send (or ask a friend/family member to help) so your attorney doesn't have to spend as much time editing for style instead of substance.
5. Ask What You Can Do
Each legal proceeding is different and your case may have unique ways to reduce your legal fees. Don't be afraid to ask your attorney how you can help keep costs down. Remember, any productive time you spend on the case instead of your attorney might be time the attorney doesn't have to bill for.
Julianne C. Smith, Esq. is a family law associate at the Weiner Law Group LLP, located in Parsippany, NJ. She dedicates her practice entirely to the area of Family Law, including divorce, custody, parenting time,child support, spousal support, and equitable distribution. She offers free family law consultations at her Parsippany, NJ office.