Most people who hire divorce attorneys are understandably concerned about legal fees. There is no simple formula. General estimates show that a divorce can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000 or more. Shelling out that kind of cash can be difficult for divorcing couples, particularly because they must also be wondering whether they will have to sell the family home, make alimony and child support payments, and deal with other financial obligations that come with the end of a marriage.
Given the shaky state of the economy in recent years, some couples have actually chosen to remain together – even though both want to divorce – simply because the legal costs would be too high. But that is rarely a healthy atmosphere for the family. It may contribute to further non-legal or divorce-related costs, such as counseling or psychotherapy due to anxiety and stress.
There are several things you can do to keep legal fees at a minimum during a divorce:
- If you hire a divorce lawyer who charges by the hour, remember that time is money. Come to all meetings with a list of questions that you would like answered, and limit the number of e-mails and phone calls you make. That does not mean you should avoid contacting your lawyer. It just means that you should be smart about how you do it in order to keep costs low.
- Be organized. You will probably need to compile bank statements and other personal documents for your lawyer in preparation for your divorce proceedings. It will take less effort to obtain those documents if you get an early start.
- Let your lawyer do the heavy lifting. Divorce is hard. It can be tempting to encourage your attorney to settle things in a rush just because you want the whole process over. But that may not be to your advantage in the long term and could ultimately cost you more than the money you spent asking your lawyer to handle it more slowly.