How to manage your fees in your Divorce

FAMILY LAW WEB.jpgFinding the best divorce lawyer for your situation can be difficult. Once you’ve chosen an attorney, the decisions don’t end there. You can choose your actions carefully and help manage your case to reduce fees and emotional turmoil. Our law office offers suggestions to keep the fees (and emotions) under control.
Legal matters can contribute to emotional and financial stress. A client’s emotional state can cause attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to escalate. For example, if one party is vindictive or mean-spirited, he/she may refuse to negotiate in good faith, behave in such a manner that necessitates numerous court appearances, or otherwise cause delays. Assuming the other party acts unreasonably, such conduct is outside your control. In these circumstances your divorce attorney should attempt to cope with the situation through appropriate procedures. This negative conduct will be expensive and exhausting to all parties. By being aware of how emotion and behavior can affect attorneys’ fees, you are capable of reducing fees by conducting yourself in the highest, most rational manner and following these simple rules:

  1. Keep in mind that the services your family law attorney provides are primarily legal. It is essential that your attorney understand the basic nature of your past interaction with the other party(ies). It is in your best interests that you recognize and cope with the stress which occurs when you are involved in a legal dispute. If necessary, see a professional therapist or counselor. Our office is happy to give credible referrals. Unless you are thinking clearly, you may be inclined to make decisions influenced more by emotion, which could increase your fees or negatively affect the litigation or settlement of your case.
  2. Participate as effectively as you can in your own case. Your lawyer will ask you to help in gathering information and documents. Your time is likely to be less expensive to you than an attorney’s time. Accordingly, it is for your own best financial interests that you obtain as much of the information and documents for your case as possible, and provide them to us when requested.
  3. During your case, your attorney may undertake the discovery process. Parties, through their counsel, may submit formal requests for information and documents, including a long set of written questions, called INTERROGATORIES. Parties are entitled, under the rules of the court, to request answers to the information sought, although it may entail hours of research gathering your records. It is your attorney’s legal responsibility to ensure that the information is supplied. Many of the INTERROGATORIES are seeking answers that are legal in nature which will require our guidance. However, if the labor of answering all of the INTERROGATORIES falls to your attorney or if there is a delay in producing documents that you could have provided more easily than an attorney can obtain, it will increase your fees. Also, if there is a delay in response due to your lack of cooperation, the other party could apply to the court for an order to compel you to answer and produce, and there could be monetary sanctions against you.
  4. Organize the papers involved in your case and bring them to conferences and hearings unless otherwise directed. This will also help you keep track of the status of your case.
  5. Think positively toward settlement of your case. Most cases are, and should be, settled through the negotiations of the parties and attorneys. The court expects those attempts. Often, the parties’ discussions help to bring about a settlement

Additionally, there are other avenues to resolve disputes. Mediation is a manner of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” in which a certified mediator can help parties negotiate and reach agreement. Your attorney should discuss with you at some point and advise whether to mediate, and in some cases, the court may require mediation or a settlement conference prior to scheduling a final hearing or trial. Your attorney should always be in a position to negotiate a settlement, and quite frankly, a negotiated settlement is often the most favorable and cost effective way of achieving a result acceptable to both parties. It has been said that the mark of a good settlement is that neither party is entirely happy

However, sometimes litigation is the only way to resolve the dispute. Litigation can be costly and stressful. However, it may be necessary. If it is necessary, your attorney should work with you to prepare your case for trial in order to present your case as favorably as possible.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an experienced family law lawyer in Indiana to discuss the specifics of your situation.