One of the first questions we get from prospective clients inquiring about divorce is "How much money will my divorce cost?" This question is tough to answer. There are so many extenuating circumstances that can affect your legal costs in divorce. There ARE ways to minimize legal fees and maintain control over the terms of your divorce. At Harden Jackson Law, we encourage spouses to avoid litigation and consider alternatives such as mediation or collaborative law. Both are less expensive than traditional divorce litigation, but each alternative method still provides a structured, legal process to work out detailed terms. However, there are many situations that aren't suitable for collaborative law or mediation. Here are a few tips to minimize your legal costs in your divorce:
- Speak directly with the opposing party. Don't reach out to your attorney with disputes that could be sorted out between the parties, particularly if it is a parenting time issue that is already addressed in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines (IPTG).
- Disputes over minor property issues (like movies, sporting equipment, kitchen stuff) are not cost effective. If it costs more for your attorney to fight over a particular item than it would be to replace it, then it may not be worth fighting over unless there is a sentimental attachment.
- Organize discovery responses on your own. Clients who do their own due diligence and send back organized documents and responses are rewarded by not having their attorney incur bills to get everything together.
- Be timely with information requests. Having your attorney keep reminding you to send documents only incurs more fees. In fact, the cheapest option is an informal discovery where the parties are organized enough to get their financial documents exchanged without the need to request it.
- "Sleep on it". Don't make emotional decisions. If opposing counsel sends an offer or a response, wait to respond when emotions have died down. Spending a lot of time crafting a response while emotions are high cost money and may even lead to regret.