While there are some standard expenses associated with most divorces, the cost for those expenses and for additional work on the case can vary greatly. There are some things that you can do to keep the costs down.
Obtain an experienced family law attorney. While it is may seem like representing yourself would be cheaper, it often ends up being much more expensive. If the correct pleadings are not filed, hearings requested, or discovery requests delivered, the case may end up costing more in the long run when you have to pay an attorney to correct the mistakes made. Additionally, if things are not done accurately, you may miss out on those financial or personal benefits that you might have been entitled to if you had had an experienced attorney guiding you.
Attempt to negotiate with your spouse. This can be done informally through a casual conversation if you are able to speak amicably to one another. If not, it can be done through your respective attorneys. Make an offer. Your spouse may reject it, but perhaps it will open up negotiations that will lead to a settlement.
Schedule mediation early. You will be required by the court to attend mediation before you can go to trial, delaying scheduling will only serve to delay the process and could cause more work if you are scrambling to get mediation done before trial.
Decide early on in the case if you plan to send discovery requests to the other side. Discovery can be very expensive. However, failing to identify and divide that bank account that your spouse has been secretly contributing to for years could be much more expensive. Some cases do not require discovery, many do. Again, this process can delay your ability to go forward to trial if you wait too long to get it started.
Try to keep things as amicable as possible. The more you fight, the more you pay. While you may be hurt and angry, behaving improperly or arguing merely for the sake of punishing your spouse will only serve to cost you more money.
Do not create reasons to fight. Make sure that your actions will benefit your case. Do not start dating until you are legally divorced. Do not send hateful text messages or emails to your spouse. Do not post pictures or statements on social media that advertise adultery, extravagant spending, substance use or information about your divorce. Do not throw all your spouse’s personal belongings out. Remember that what you say and do can be used against you and could end up costing you more money.
Respond promptly to requests from your attorney or orders of the court. If you receive discovery requests from your spouse, provide responses to them. Failure to do so could result in both legal and financial consequences. Ask you attorney for specific directions on how to handle the process. Respond promptly and completely. The more requests that your attorney has to make for you to provide documents or responses and the longer it takes to receive them, the more their fees will be.
Remember that any work that your attorney does on your case will result in a charge for legal fees. If possible, combine your questions to one email or phone call rather than sending multiple emails or making several phone calls. Ask for advice and act accordingly. Your attorney should fight for you, but they can only do so within the parameters of the law. Do not make unreasonable request or arguments.