Top 5 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Divorce
The cost of divorce can be debilitating for many families. As compassionate attorneys, we know that the best option for you and your family is to have your divorce completed as quickly and as inexpensively as possible. Below are our recommendations for the top 5 ways to reduce the cost of your divorce:
1. Avoid litigation
By far, the costliest part of a divorce is litigation. Not only will you pay for the days your attorney is at court, but also the hours of court preparation and the drafting of additional documentation necessary to get you the best outcome. Thus, the best way to reduce the cost of your divorce is to think of litigation as the last option. Instead of litigation, there are several other less costly ways your attorney can help you get what you want out of your divorce. For most conflicts, we recommend you start with settlement negotiations and mediation. Only if all else fails do we recommend litigation.
2. Make a list of everything you agree on.
Much of the cost associated with a divorce comes from an attorney’s work in determining how you and your spouse want to divide assets, custody, and parenting time. An attorney’s time spent discussing every item on your divorce list – house, cars, bank accounts – can take time, and thus, can be very costly. Costs greatly reduced when you and your spouse have made a list of everything you agree on. This allows your attorney to spend their time working to equitably divide everything you don’t agree on.
The stress and emotions of divorce can drive us to make unreasonable decisions. Sometimes, you may not want to cooperate, either because you don’t think you have to, it’s not fair, or you want to “stick it to” your spouse. This can be a very costly mistake. For example, if you fail to fairly cooperate with requests for certain information your spouse can file a motion to compel. If you have truly been uncooperative with no good reason, the court is likely to make you hand over the information and pay for the motion your spouse filed. So now, you are not only paying your own attorneys fees to defend the motion but also your spouse’s attorneys’ fees for bringing the motion. Thus, if you are unsure whether you must cooperate with certain requests made by your spouse, call your attorney and cooperate when necessary.
4. Don’t hide assets
In some circumstances, you may not want to disclose an asset during your divorce. However, this can be ruinous, especially if the assets were acquired during marriage. The courts in Michigan do not tolerate divorce fraud. While fraud is determined on a case-by-case basis, the court has the discretion to give 100% of your hidden assets to your spouse. Further, the court also has the discretion to make you pay your spouses attorney’s fees. Ultimately, you don’t want to risk the chance that you will lose your assets and have to pay additional attorney’s fees.
5. Avoid unnecessarily long phone calls and meetings with your attorney.
Often, clients call their attorneys with one legal question, but then spend 30 minutes venting about their spouse. As compassionate attorneys, we are here to assist you in all aspects of your divorce. However, venting sessions can be very costly. To reduce the cost of your divorce, we recommend planning ahead. Before you call the office or come in for a meeting, know what you want to talk about and get down to business.
If you want a firm that is devoted to doing the best they can do for their clients and billing in what we believe is a reasonable manner, please contact Spindler and Associates. We have years of experience and know the laws and court procedures for Wayne, Oakland, Livingston, Genesee and Washtenaw Counties where our attorneys have practiced for years. Contact Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 to schedule a consultation. The Oakland County law office is conveniently located in Milford, Michigan. Our service area includes these communities: Milford, Waterford, Walled Lake, Commerce, Highland, Hartland, White Lake, Commerce, South Lyon, Linden, New Hudson, Wixom, Holly, Fenton, Grand Blanc and many more.