Stay Financially Savvy During Your Divorce

Almost all legal matters can be costly, but if you are contemplating a divorce, you might be able to reduce the amount you owe considerably. One of the main points to keep in mind is keeping your disagreements outside of the courtroom. Any matter that can be resolved without a judge will positively affect your legal bills. Divorce attorneys, like those at Madison Law Firm PLLC, usually charge by the hour with a retainer up front. The retainer can be thought of a money bucket from which to draw from time to time. Read on to learn how to reduce the amount of money you need to have withdrawn from that bucket and have a more budget-friendly divorce experience.

Spend money to save money by getting help and support: As referenced above, if you can resolve issues ahead of time, it's money well spent. Paying for the services of a mental health professional and a divorce mediator is a good investment. Having mental health support will allow you to view the breakup in a more emotionally healthy manner, and leaving emotions out of negotiations for things like child custody and property disputes will only lead to a faster resolution. Mediators are trained in bringing about agreement using conflict resolution techniques, and this process allows couples to make their own decisions about divorce issues without bringing the courts on board.

Have a frank talk about expenses with your lawyer: Your divorce attorney has awesome skills, but mind-reading is not likely one of them. The time to discuss finances is when you sign the representation agreement. Find out what costs can be anticipated and how the attorney charges. Some use a retainer method and some use a flat fee method. Your attorney cannot do a good job of overseeing your divorce without knowing what you can afford, and it's far better to know what you are in for ahead of time than to be unable to come up with enough money later on. If there are ways to save money, don't be shy about asking your attorney about it.

Make it easier for your attorney and help save some time: You might be surprised at the part you can play in preparing your divorce case. Anything you can provide and do for the cause is that much less time billed, so speak to your attorney about how you can help. For instance, divorces usually involve a lot of documentation, and you may have access to certain bits of information ahead of time. Your access to financial documents and files may be limited once you let your intentions to divorce be known, so make copies of documents and save yourself the fees to hire a forensic accountant or the need to subpoena them. Try to get your hands on the following:

1. Tax returns for the past several years

2. Bank statements

3. Investment and retirement account statements

4. Deeds and titles

5. Credit card and loan balances and information

6. Pay stubs

7. Life, health and other types of insurance information

8. Mortgage information

Talk to your attorney about these and other cost-saving measures.