If you’re thinking of getting a Divorce, chances are you assume that the next step is to look up a good lawyer to represent you. If that’s you, you may want to reconsider. Just because you’re getting a divorce, it doesn’t mean you need a lawyer right away, and in some cases, you may not need one at all. Your Divorce is unique to you, and you may or may not have realised that there are actions you can take to set yourself up for success. Here are some of the things your Divorce Lawyer will not tell you, but you should know or be aware of before you make an appointment with a lawyer.
- Each Divorce is different; no two divorces are the same.
A lot of people make the mistake of picking their lawyer based on referrals from others. Chances are your ‘divorced friend’ refers you to their lawyer and based on their outcome, you consider getting the same. It’s easy to understand why, but there are so many different factors, and just like DNA, your cells and circumstances are different. The fact that you have debts, asset values such as a family home or business, family needs, etc. means your situations are unique. You cannot predetermine your split (if its 50-50 or a 60-40) because someone else got that outcome.
- Time is money
Although at Divorce Angel, we work with lawyers who mostly work on fixed fee bases, in general, most lawyers charge by time increments. It may seem attractive to you, but being disorganized, or unaware of the process (which is usually is the case) can be costly. If 6 minute increments are how your lawyer charges then throughout your file, you will be paying for a large amount of unused time. Some examples of how your Divorce can blow out are; continually contacting your lawyer for answers, print outs, changes and inadvisably for therapy. In this case, the quicker you agree with your ex, the better for you. Which brings us to the next point.
- Maintain a divorce folder – You’ll have your share of homework
Your relationships’ history, documents, evidence and all necessary personal and joint financials need to be worked out and presented by you to your lawyer. This is called disclosure. Noting that most often Divorce Lawyers charge by time increments. If they continually follow you up for outstanding information or supporting documents then expect to pay lots of money. We often tell our clients to maintain a divorce file or folder (preferably digitally). This way, you will have every bit of information and paper at your fingertips. Being organised is critical. If you take responsibility not only will you be clearer of the outcome but this will save you money. No matter how tempting it would be to leave tasks for your lawyer, just know this will pay off for your sanity and pocket.
- Mediation can be enough
If you use mediation, you and your spouse can work with a neutral third party to negotiate essential areas of your Divorce. It can be a cost-effective method but be aware that you still may need to hire a lawyer to complete your orders.
- If you and your Spouse are amicable – You can save money
This is something a lawyer may not want you to know. If you and your spouse decided on an amicable outcome together, showing a level of respect, then the future would look brighter all round. This, however, can be difficult at times and communicate matters. Keeping in mind each other and the family’s best interest. If you do not have that much to divide among yourselves or already are in agreement to work together for your children’s benefit, then you can save on legal fees and even do your Divorce online or follow a step by step process we offer.
- Larger legal firms not necessarily result in best results while they certainly can result in high legal fees.
If you are not very worried about your cash, it doesn’t mean you have to settle for the most expensive or largest legal firm. Larger the firm the more overheads, more teams involved so chances are you end up paying more for something that can be done with way less effort. Large legal firms can get good outcomes, and we don’t deny it, but we often notice that more prominent the firm the longer it takes, and more it costs.
- They communicate very differently
Yes, legal words, norms and jargons and phrases can seem alien to you. What you should remember is to respect their terms in relation to communicating with another lawyer or colleagues. This is not a letter to your ‘ex’ and altering every draft or request to change a word is costly. Take the context of the message. If it meets the requirements, then that’s all that matters. If you try to alter bring in the emotional responses to the documents prepared by your lawyer, remember your changes cost you money.
- Lawyers are not your therapist
The most costly legal blunder divorce clients make, is when you ring your lawyer and have them act as your therapist or friend. Using the lawyer as the therapist is a bad idea and a very costly mistake. If you need a shoulder to cry on, make sure you get the help you require, either from your family, a professional therapist or a divorce source such as us. When it comes to your lawyer, stick to a list of written questions, and do not deviate. Also, remember your lawyer can not provide information on other aspects, e.g., mortgage, finances or therapy; you need to reach out to someone who can help you in this area. The wrong advice from the wrong person can cost not only financially, but it can cost your future and may bring you to an unnecessary breaking point, emotionally.
About the author:
Tanya Somerton is the ‘Divorce Angel’, whose business is to facilitate a seamless and amicable divorce and separation with the aid of her ‘Army of Angels.’ Tanya provides a step by step process which limits cost and conflict that sees you achieving your most financially beneficial outcome possible, now and for the future.
Tanya is also the Director of TLC Investment Group, a finance and mortgage company. She helps her clients budget and plan, rather than wondering if you can keep the family home. If you need help and support in this area, contact email@example.com for help and advice.
She is also the author of ‘The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering independence through Divorce’. If you are looking to prevent any mistakes and save money this book is a must. Purchase your copy here