Reducing the Costs of a Divorce Attorney

Here are some tips to help manage the cost of a divorce attorney.

Timothy Durkin Attorney at Law Profile Image

Timothy Durkin Attorney at Law

Phoenix, AZ

Seeking a family law attorney is never an easy thing -- but according to statistics one out of every two people will at one point seek a divorce. Unlike personal injury cases that are taken on a contingency fee basis and require no money upfront, almost all divorce lawyers charge a flat fee or by the hour for their services. It is routine to see divorce cases, even those that never see the court room, cost several thousand dollars. This is a huge financial burden in a time when you may already be having separate accounts and living expenses. However there are ways to reduce the cost of your family law attorney.

Here are some tips to help you keep your legal fees down during a divorce.

Settle Out of Court

A family law attorney doesn't just handle your nasty child custody battle, they are routinely seen outside of court to help couples finalize divorce documents they have already procured. Here they can help you cross your T's and dot your I's, making sure that your divorce plan is sound and comprehensive. By settling outside of court and only using the lawyer to perform a final check on all court documents, you can easily save a few thousand dollars while "representing" yourself.

Be Honest

It's estimated that much of a family law attorney's time is wasted in unfounded lies and allegations about the spouse, your income, your relationship and infidelity. By lying you not only waste the attorney's time, but if your case goes to court, your character will be tarnished. Be honest to save your integrity and chance of winning.

Decide on the Right Fee Structure

  • Be aware of the financial structure of your lawyers' fees. If he charges by the hour costs can easily rack up. Other lawyers charge a flat fee for the entire case- this may be advantageous if your case is complicated or the divorce is a high asset one.

    Remember Taxes

    Sometimes a party feels like they have "won", only to lose the child tax exemption or be slapped with a tax bill for a house they can no longer afford. Make sure that you discuss with your lawyer the financials of the divorce case. Do not take on more than you can afford- and be aware of all the tax repurcussions of your decision.

    Have Legal Fees Included in the Settlement

    If you win, see if you can have your lawyer's fees included in your settlement. Often times a spouse can be reimbursed for the costs of their legal expenses

    Pro Bono Legal Services

    If you truly can not afford a attorney but believe that you will need one to win your case- find a law clinic at a law school near you. Senior students will take your case on a pro bono basis, and will have expert instructors by their side throughout the case. You may also visit your state bar's pro bono page, where attorneys in your area offer a set amount of hours pro bono and free of charge.

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