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Top 5 Ways to Lower Your Costs in a Divorce

Many people have asked me why attorneys are so expensive. My answer is that attorneys’ time and knowledge is extremely valuable and even though our hourly rates may be high, you are getting what you pay for. Often times, it is more valuable and cost efficient to have an experienced attorney represent you in your divorce than it is to try to do it on your own. However, there are several things that you could do to keep the costs down in your divorce:

1. Be honest with your attorney

In many divorces, the parties may have embarrassing histories or other details that they do not want to share with anyone. However, not sharing or lying about these types of details could actually be detrimental to your case. You should remember that there is a confidential relationship between you and your attorney and many details that you provide to them (like a criminal charge in your past) could actually help your case if you are honest. However, if you hide this kind of information, it will likely rise to the surface eventually, but may cost you more in the long run if your attorney has to investigate the matter.

2. Do some of your own research

Before you meet with your attorney, you should organize your case into a very coherent and clear timeline and summary. Be sure to include any instances of domestic violence, issues involving your children and your financial information. Many of these facts will be dependent on your record keeping or memory. An attorney may be able to uncover some of these facts, but it will take longer and be more labor intensive. This way, when you sit down with your attorney, you have everything in front of you and can easily answer their questions about your marriage.

3. Be organized

Instead of waiting for the attorney to ask you for documentation, start collecting different types of documents even before you have filed for divorce. This can include titles or deeds to houses, cars and other property, bank statements, tax returns and your prenuptial agreement, if you have one. Having copies of these important documents will be good for you to have aside from the divorce as well.

4. Make your communication with your attorney as clear as possible

If your attorney is charging you for the time you spend on the phone, or the amount of time he/she spends reading an email, then it would be in your best interest to make sure that your communication with your attorney is concise and clear. This way, your attorney would not necessarily have to call you or email you back in order to clarify your original message.
5. Don’t take short cutsSometimes short cuts seem cheaper, but in the long run, those short cuts could end up costing you more money. It may seem like it would be more cost effective to try to dissolve a complicated divorce on your own by dabbling in different internet resources or seeking advice from attorneys on an hourly basis, but it could backfire. Although there are instances where people have very competently represented themselves in a divorce, not having the right attorney represent your interests could actually be detrimental in many other cases.

If you’re looking for a family law attorney in the Bay Area, including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, you should contact the experienced attorneys of Howard & Fei, LLP at 510.464.8083.

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