Most people that hire attorneys to represent them are concerned about how much they will be spending on their attorney and other court fees. While good representation is invaluable when so much is at stake, there are ways that you can reduce your legal costs without sacrificing having the best representation possible. Here are some ideas we have for our family law clients:
- Bring an Outline. When you meet with your family law attorney for the first time, bring an outline of what has happened that has brought you to the place of needing a family law attorney. Make sure the outline includes the important facts, but not every detail. You want to provide your attorney with enough information to advise you, but not every insignificant detail that happened prior to your meeting (this can use your valuable time and money). Your attorney will be able to advise you where they need more information. An outline can also help guide you through the meeting to help you get your questions answered. If there is something you want to walk away from the meeting knowing, make it part of your outline, and let your attorney know.
- Bring the Materials You Need to Your Appointment. If you have been served with a petition or motion, bring it with you. If you are owed child support, bring the proof you have to show what you are owed. If you would like to modify your parenting plan, bring the plan with you to the meeting with your attorney. This is a simple way to maximize the time you have with your attorney.
- Agree Whenever Possible. If you and the other party to your family law case can agree on certain parts of your case, it will likely save you money to do so (however, do not do so without consulting with your family law attorney first). While you should not give up on the issues that are the most important to you, you also should not argue unnecessarily about issues that are not. Disagreements between parties often have little to do with the subject matter of the argument.
- Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis. When you consider filing a motion, think about all the possible costs associated with this action. Think about the time you will have to take off work to prepare and be in court, and the fees you will have to pay for representation. Then, balance this with the amount you could possible obtain through your action. If it looks like you are going to spend more than you could ever obtain if you are successful in court, it might not be worth filing the motion. Notwithstanding, there are motions for that should be filed even if you stand to lose money. This is especially true in cases involving parenting plans.
It is important that you make your family law attorney aware of your financial concerns regarding legal fees and costs, and that you would like that to be a factor when your attorney advises you on the best next steps. We want our clients to obtain the best results possible, and sometimes that means advising them that they would be better served by not filing a motion that will cost more money than its worth. Being a prepared and helpful client can reduce your legal fees and help you obtain the results you want. We hope you find these tips useful.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your family law case.