We have covered the issue of legal costs during family law cases on this blog before, but we think it is an important enough issue to merit further discussion. Each person has their own priorities and it is important that your family law attorney be willing to adjust their usual procedure to help you reach your objectives without ruining your financial future (or be honest about their inability to change their procedures enough to fit your budget and let you seek help elsewhere). Sometimes, keeping costs low during a family law proceeding is pretty high on a client’s list of priorities. Here are a few (more) ways to save on legal costs during your family law case:
- Learn a bit about family law in Washington before your first meeting with an attorney. Many people come into their first meeting with a family law attorney not even knowing if Washington is a community property state (it is), not knowing if the mom automatically gets the majority of the time with the kids (she doesn’t ), and not knowing if you can finalize a divorce on the same day as you file (you can’t). A quick web search will give you this information (but do confirm results of internet searches with your attorney) so your time spent with a family law attorney can be spent on your specific case and your specific questions.
- Speaking of specific questions… write them down and bring them to your meetings. This will help ensure that your questions get answered and that your discussion stays on track.
- Let your attorney know that you are concerned about legal costs. In addition to telling your attorney you are concerned about legal costs, ask if there are things you can do to minimize costs.
- Be organized. The easier it is to review and organize any documents you bring with you, the less time the attorney will have to spend organizing your documents. This is especially true if the documents need to be submitted to the other party or the court. It is also beneficial to be organized in your thinking. If you are prone to tangents and non sequiturs bring a one-page sheet describing your marriage from start to finish (or if your family law case is not a dissolution case a one-page sheet describing the important issues of your case). Make a list. Your family law attorney will ask you to expand on areas that s/he needs more information, but this will at least ensure that you give him or her the whole story during your appointment.
- Be clear and direct in your emails. When your family law attorney uses email to ask you questions about your case, be sure you answer their question in your response. Too often we send emails, receive a response, and then have to send another email because the question we asked in our original email was not answered. This takes additional time and can mean additional costs.
There are many ways to save money in your family law case. It is important that you be direct with your family law attorney about what your priorities are in your family law case and that you are concerned about legal costs. This will allow your family law attorney to help you decide where your limited resources would be best spent.
If you would like to speak with a Seattle area family law attorney, please contact us today.