- Conflict Comes at a Cost
The number one driver of fees incurred is the people involved. The more conflict and blowups there are, the more expenses there are for all parties. How easy the parties make it to reach a settlement will greatly affect the price of the divorce process. Both spouses play a role in working through the issues in your case in reaching a settlement and reducing the cost of the divorce.
The attorneys also play a role in how expensive it is going to be. If you have a highly litigious attorney on the other side that likes to fight, this attorney is not going to let the case go easily.
Judges can also indirectly affect the cost by not moving a case along. The longer the case is pending the more fees are generally incurred. A divorce case moves as fast as the slowest person, and the slowest person can be the judge, the lawyer, or the clients, and the longer it is pending the more the cost will increase.
- Saving Money in a Litigated Case
Saving money in a litigated divorce will require engagement from both spouses. This means both doing the homework, gathering documents quickly and in an organized fashion. The more efficiently you gather and organize the documents, the sooner your lawyer will be able to go to work.
- Saving Money in a Collaborative Divorce Case
Both the Collaborative Divorce and Mediation processes are designed to keep you out of court. A Collaborative Divorce process in Illinois uses specially trained lawyers and other professionals, such as divorce coaches, a child specialist, and financial specialist to help the parties reach an agreement. Many people may see two attorneys and a third or fourth professional on the case and start to have a bit of sticker shock. The collaborative process is all about doing what needs to be done to complete your case and keep it from blowing up. If there is a rift, these professionals are trained to get it back on track quickly, which lowers the cost for those involved.
While the neutral professionals may look like it will cost more, they have lower hourly rates than the attorneys, and the expertise help to reach a settlement earlier at a lower cost than litigation.
These specialists bring their expertise to parenting and financial issues. In litigation, these efforts are duplicated with specialists on both sides, plus more of the work is handled by the attorneys at a higher hourly rate than neutral professionals.
- Saving Money in Mediation
Mediation is attractive to a lot of people because they see a one-stop-shop. However, with mediation, both spouses will still need legal advice. In every case, whether it is Litigation, Collaborative, or Mediation, you both still must do the same work and an attorney will need to do the legal documents for you.
You must create a balance sheet, you must work on the parenting plan, and you have to exchange documents. The mediator cannot give legal advice to either side. Their role is to get to a settlement. If the couple has limited assets and no children, mediation is a cost-effective option.
- Don’t Bury Your Head in the Sand
If you are focused on saving money during your case, the key is to be involved. Do what is asked of you, ask questions, participate, have ideas, and do not drag your feet.
It is key to be an active participant. When both sides are active participants it will usually save money. Those that bury their head in the sand will find that it ends up costing more money.
If you need help with any issue concerning divorce or family law, contact us at The Law Offices of Patrick Markey, P.C. Our practice is dedicated solely to the practice of family law.