Divorce is many things. Many would describe it as an emotional rollercoaster, and it is also the dissolution of an important legal contract. Another factor that many people associate with divorce is the expense, and while it is true that divorce costs can run rampant in highly contentious divorces, there is no reason that your divorce has to be overly costly. The most salient point to keep in mind is that it is critical to protect your parental and financial rights throughout the divorce process, and an experienced Lampasas divorce attorney will help ensure that this happens. There are, however, a variety of things that you can do to help keep your divorce costs down. (Words of Wisdom from an Experienced Divorce Attorney)
Formulate a Game Plan
In the end, every divorce – no matter how hotly contested or mild-mannered, and no matter how high the assets or how straightforward the financials – comes down to agreeing to the same basic terms, which can include:
- The division of your marital property
- Your child custody arrangements (Related: 4 Mistakes that Can Sabotage Your Child Custody Case)
- Child support (Related: What Happens if You Do Not Pay Child Support in Texas?)
- Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Texas) (How to Modify Alimony in Texas?)
Within this framework, it is important to have a plan. If you and your divorcing spouse see eye to eye – or close enough – within any of these terms, it is one matter you will not need to address while paying for legal guidance. Further, once you come to grips with what your divorce priorities are, it becomes easier to let go of the details and concerns that are less important to you, which can shave off considerable expense.
While there is much to gain from carefully negotiating aspects of your divorce that you are perfectly willing to compromise on, it is important to ensure that your strategies and priorities are sound – in terms of protecting your financial and parental rights – by reviewing them carefully with your dedicated divorce attorney.
Settling out of Court
If you and your divorcing spouse are able to find common ground regarding each of your divorce terms, it is almost certainly going to cost less than going to court would. Even if you keep your case out of court altogether, however, the longer the negotiation process – and the more involved you need your respective attorneys to be – the costlier your divorce is likely to be. The fact of the matter is that divorce is often complicated, and rushing through to the other side in an attempt to save on legal costs can end up being an expensive choice.
Your divorce will be unique to you and your circumstances, which makes taking the steps you need to obtain terms that support your rights worth the effort and the expense. The least costly path forward, however, involves settling each term with as little outside assistance as possible. Consider the following:
- If there are any terms that you and your soon-to-be-ex share similar views regarding, you should attempt to hash them out between yourselves.
- All remaining terms should be negotiated with the professional assistance of your divorce attorney.
- If you hit a wall on a specific term – or terms – your respective divorce attorneys can negotiate on your behalf.
- For any terms that remain, you can turn to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation – where a professional mediator will attempt to help you and your divorcing spouse explore your options and find middle ground.
By following this model, you can shed those terms you are able to settle along the way and can apply the guidance of professional legal counsel only as you need it. One caveat that it is important to mention is that if your divorcing spouse is determined to make your divorce as contentious as possible, there is very likely little you can do to stop him or her, and moving directly toward court may be your best and least expensive option.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Your Legal Costs
There are specific things you can do to help reduce your legal expenses and keep your divorce moving forward.
Prepare a List of Questions
You are going through a divorce, and you naturally have a lot of questions. Taking the time to prepare a list of questions for your attorney can help you cut to the chase and ensure that they are all addressed up front – instead of bringing them up in a stream-of-consciousness style that is apt to take considerably longer. When you gather all your questions, it also helps your attorney better understand what your primary divorce concerns are, which can help expedite the process.
Gather Your Financial Documents
Your financial documents will guide the course of your divorce. Whether it’s the division of your marital property, child support, or alimony, your financial documents are going to play an important role, and the more effort you put into gathering and organizing these important elements of your divorce, the less time your legal team will need to pour into it, which can not only save you money in the long run but can also help to ensure that your financial rights are well represented and protected. Such documents should include:
- Your mortgage
- Other loan information
- You and your spouse’s income statements
- Your financial portfolio
- Deeds to all property
- Car titles and information related to any car loans
- Credit card statements
- Lines of credit
- Your separate retirement accounts
- Your tax statements for several years back
- Information regarding additional assets, such as artworks, jewelry, watches, collections, recreational vehicles, or anything else of value
Your financial documents will be unique to you and your situation, but the more comprehensive and the better organized, the better prepared your legal team will be to hit the ground running.
Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Lampasas Divorce Attorney Today
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Lampasas, Texas, understands your concerns regarding controlling your divorce costs in the context of protecting your parental and financial rights, and he has the skill and legal insight to help. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.