When meeting with a cheap divorce lawyer, undoubtedly, one of your primary concerns would be how much it would cost you to dissolve your marriage and resolve property settlement issues.
This is a pertinent concern and in the same way as a lavish wedding ceremony and overseas honeymoon can cost an arm and a leg, a “cheap divorce” may also “break the bank”.
However, what some people do not realise is that they end up inflating the cost of their Brisbane family lawyer fees during these proceedings. Knowing what to avoid could help you in keeping your legal costs at an affordable range. So, what are some of the top 7 most expensive divorce matters in Australia?
So, what are some of the top 7 most expensive ways to turn a cheap divorce matter into an expensive one in Australia?
1. Having a hard stance about going to court
When going through a divorce emotions can be high-strung, especially if the break up is not amicable. Nevertheless, if you think that insisting on taking your former spouse to court would be a great way to punish them, you will be punishing your pocket too. The fastest way to run up your legal fees is to have your family lawyer take the case straight to Court and all the way to trial as they will be spending their time to both prepare for court hearings as well as spend billable hours in the courthouse.
2. Having queries for your family lawyer on a daily basis
What you need to remember about lawyers is that their billable hours are not limited to the time they spend working on your case in the office. Most divorce lawyers charge for their time, and they will charge you for any communication that you have with them over the phone, via emails and more. If you are in the habit to call your family lawyer repetitively to ask questions, you will probably have high family law fees.
3. Having your divorce lawyer collate your financial records
Financial statements can be quite tiresome to sit through and organise. Nonetheless, this is important when you are going through a divorce if you intend to get a fair settlement from the dissolution of your marriage. Some people make the mistake of tasking their cheap divorce lawyers with collecting and collating this information for them, not bearing in mind that it is time intensive. Thus, you end up being billed much more in legal fees.
4. Having no flexibility with your demands
Divorce proceedings are quite unpredictable. Just because one of your friends ended up with the family home and half of their spouse’s money does not translate into that being the same settlement for your case. Therefore, it is prudent to have an open mind. When people engage in divorce proceedings and have no room for negotiation, all they are doing is accumulating more billable hours as their lawyer keeps going back and forth with the other counsel. Compromise may not get you all you want, but it can significantly shorten the time your proceedings take.
5. Having your lawyer act like your therapist
Going through a divorce may be emotionally draining, but this does not mean your lawyer is going to step in and become your therapist. Your lawyer will help you with dealing with the emotional distress that you will experience but do not make the mistake of calling them incessantly whenever you need a shoulder to cry on. These informal sessions will still be charged for billable hours, hence, increasing the cost of your divorce.
6. Having your divorce lawyer do everything
In the course of events, you may be required to provide a written statement (or affidavit). This may include a detailed summary of historical events involving your relationship, work, family and other details. Often this information will comprise thousands of words dealing with events over many years. If you can provide your lawyer with a clear, accurate and well-written draft this will help to reduce the time that your lawyer needs to spend on doing this.
7. Changing lawyers & law firms
As Oprah Winfrey once said: “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” In the same way, as you choose your friends, you should choose your legal representative carefully. Do they have the experience, temperament and acumen to resolve your matter? Do they have confidence in their responses to your queries? Do they have an ‘endgame’ in sight? These are important issues to consider when choosing because changing tack will generally increase your fee and stress whilst mounting additional pressure on your legal position.
Whilst any legal conflict may be a cause of unplanned costs, your time may be best spent doing your part to reduce your costs. TLDR; To get a cheap divorce: Find a law firm big enough to succeed and small enough to care.