Finances often top the list of divorce worries, with divorce attorney fees being a major concern. Divorce attorneys usually charge an hourly rate figured in 15 minute increments, even if the service takes only a minute or two of his/her time. If you call every day, your monthly charge just for phone calls can total over $1,000. If the process drags on for a year, you'll pay $12,000 and up just for those brief daily calls. Below are some tips that will help keep down expenses when it comes to legal fees charged by your divorce attorney.
Time Required: depends on the individual
Get a written fee agreement.
Most divorce attorneys charge by the hour and require a deposit at the beginning of their service. Fees are then charged against the retainer until it is depleted. When this happens the client becomes responsible for any extra charges incurred. It is imperative that you obtain a written fee agreement that outlines the exact financial terms of the representation. Without one you may find yourself forking out money for hidden expenses or your attorney’s daily lunch trip to the local diner.
Attempt to negotiate a settlement without the help of your attorney.
If you and your spouse are able to communicate, it is in your best interest to negotiate a settlement agreement and come to terms on the division of any marital property. This will not only keep down the expense of using an attorney but, also the expense of court ordered mediation.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a cheap attorney is a good attorney.
It’s good to be frugal when dealing with a divorce attorney. It’s a mistake to think you are going to save money by hiring an attorney who only charges a small fee. Even worse is hiring an attorney with very little experience who will work for less. Your objective should be to achieve a reasonable settlement with your spouse. To accomplish this you need an experienced attorney who might cost a bit more but will end up saving you money when all is said and done.