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Keeping Divorce Costs Down
I understand that you want to keep your costs down and I know that a contentious marital split can be a recipe for economic disaster. So how can you be realistic, get what you need, and not let your emotions ruin you financially? Well, first recognize a couple of things:
You don't want a cheap divorce that fails to meet your needs, but you do want to save money.
Divorce is the second most stressful lifetime event after the loss of a spouse or child. This is a time for careful decision making. Even if your friends are telling you to hire the meanest, nastiest "bulldog," you can get, think carefully about what you really want. Do you really want to fight it out at any cost? Litigation is ugly, increases your stress, and empties your wallet.
Transition takes time so don't expect anything to happen overnight and go easy on yourself. Take care of your health, get enough sleep, exercise, eat good foods, and do something nice for yourself everyday, if you can.
Now, we encourage you to read these rules carefully and follow them. They will help you.
1. Make sure you have an attorney who has the right billing rate for you and understand your fee arrangement.
2. Review your legal bills regularly and make reasonable objections to inefficiencies. Keep up-to-date with your retainer.
3. Be organized - prepare, prepare, prepare for your attorney. Get all documents you think your attorney will need in advance. Copy them for your attorney. If you are computer savvy, prepare spreadsheets which show your assets with detailed information as to dates, account numbers, and your suggested distributions. Excel spreadsheets are available on our homepage, for your completion prior to your first meeting with an attorney in our office
4. Talk with a therapist. Lawyers bill at higher rates and some costs for therapy can be reimbursed by insurance. There are lots of things you may want to tell your attorney that may be better addressed with a therapist. Therapists are better equipt to handle emotional issues.
5. Bundle your issues for your attorney and put them in an e-mail. Be efficient, precise, and purposeful in your communications. Daily calls cost money.
6. Be honest with your lawyer. If you are not ready to settle because of your feelings, tell that to your attorney. Do not use foot-dragging, bogus excuses, or combat - all of which will run up your fees - to stall the entry of the divorce decree. Just admit you can't handle being divorced yet. However, if it's a year or more since the divorce process started, forget your feelings and move on. You will waste money dragging your feet.
When times are tough many want a cheap divorce. Some may look for the least expensive lawyer or hope they can shortcut the process. For some this may work, for others they may get what they pay for. Always, it is important to partner with your lawyer. As a client, be conscious of your own actions as they relate to running up excess fees. A divorce settlement may be the single most important financial transaction of your life, so be a savvy consumer and be careful.
Feel free to call me to discuss how I can help you manage your family transition in a way that works for you. 215-790-0100 (Phila.) 610 254-9060 (Wayne).
I conveniently represent clients in the Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties, the towns of Wayne, Radnor, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Paoli, Devon, Berwyn, Newtown Square, Villanova, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore, Lower Merion, Media, Wallingford, and Swarthmore, and throughout Pennsylvania.
© 2015 by Elizabeth L. Bennett, Esquire. All rights reserved.
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