Going through a divorce is both mentally and emotionally draining, not to talk of the financial upheavals that comes with it. Managing your finances during divorce can be quite complex but this does not mean that you have to drain them. You can start preparing and protecting your money before you file a divorce to avoid. In some cases, one spouse hides money from the other, which could cause acrimony and conflict, therefore, you need to take care of your own finances long before filing a divorce. Our Lansing divorce attorneys know what tricks to look for and how to protect your hard earned finances.
The stay-at-home moms may not know that they also have money to protect. The money which your husband earns to keep the household afloat is your money because by merely agreeing that you will stay at home and take care of the children, it implies that the income would cover the spouses and the family. Therefore, you too have money to protect in case of a divorce. To help you limit divorce costs and save your money, here are some of the best tips to follow:
1. Read The Written Fee Agreement and Understand It
During the divorce process, you will incur some costs and you must understand what you will be charged. The fee agreement should tell you what your attorney charges and for which services. Most of the experienced family law lawyers charge an advance retainer paid at the beginning of the case and also charge by the hour. In most cases, the attorneys in Michigan charge minimum retainer fees. Attorney fees and expenses are normally charged against the retainer until they are over in which case the client takes responsibility for any additional fees and expenses.
The fee agreement will state if you are being charged for legal or paralegal service. You will also get to know if you are the one taking care of the attorney’s travel expenses, mailing and the like. It is normal for a client to look for an attorney that charges a flat fee, with the notion that they will save money. However, this leads to an unmotivated attorney who does not push themselves beyond the bare minimum. The client will end up feeling ignored and the attorney feeling overused.
It is good to pay an attorney according to the work done just like any other professional. Charging by the hour is the most convenient for both the client and the attorney as it leads to satisfaction of both parties. This is the most common type of fee agreements in most states in the US.
Despite the fee arrangement, make sure that you get a written fee agreement which contains clear terms like if the retainer is refundable, the hourly rates of the attorney and the like. You should understand all the charges and keep a copy of the fee agreement.
Your Divorce Attorney is Not Your Therapist
Since divorce is extremely emotional and can get quite lonely, your attorney may seem like the closest person at that moment. Your attorney should stand on your side firmly which can be very reassuring at this time. If your lawyer has a good experience, they understand your situation very well and it feels good to talk to a person who understands your side of the story. This may tempt you to speak to your lawyer more frequently than is necessary which could up your bill.
Every time you talk to your attorney, seconds are running and you are being billed by the hour. Remember that attorneys sell their time and advice and every time you engage them, they bill you. This is not to say that you should avoid all communication with your lawyer. On the contrary, you should contact your lawyer anytime you need legal advice. Only make sure that you have a list of questions and the issues you need addressed before starting the conversation.
3. Don’t Use The Divorce Case To Get Even With Your Spouse
The judge’s final decision is not based on finding fault on your spouse. In fact, the judges have very little patience and tolerance with parties who are trying to get even with their spouses. They don’t consider the emotional side of the divorce, rather, it is viewed as a failed institution or business where you split up the assets and debts and move on. The attorney and the courtroom will not help you with your emotions, so, attempting to get them involved will only lead to financial losses. Find a therapist outside of the courtroom to help you deal with this difficult situation of your life.
4. Cheap Is Expensive
People often think that they are saving plenty of bucks by hiring cheap but inexperienced lawyers or by hiring a lawyer with a small flat fee. In order to attain a reasonable settlement quickly, you need an experienced and effective lawyer. An inexperienced or a learning lawyer can end up costing you a lot of money in many ways including child support. It is true that you get what you pay for, so hire the best lawyer you can afford.
5. Keep The Attorney Out of the Division of Personal Items
Do not involve the attorney in the division of personal items as this a waste of the attorney’s fees. You can resolve this with your spouse if it is possible and if you’ve been living separately, you can agree to divide them before the completion of the case. The judge will then simply indicate that all parties to keep their personal belongings. This will save the attorney’s fees greatly by avoiding the tussle over property. You can also agree with your spouse how to split the bills in an effort to save the attorney’s fees. You can however briefly consult your lawyer about dividing marital assets, which will not take up a great deal of the attorney’s fees.
In conclusion, saving money during the divorce process is very important to avoid damaging your credit status during this time. By following the above tips, you will minimize the chances of wastage and use the money where it is really needed. This will help you stay on track financially after the divorce.