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Tips on Reducing Legal Fees


Divorce is expensive. Nevertheless, there are ways to reduce your legal fees. The following are some tips:

1. Prepare for your phone calls.

I bill in 6 minute increments. However, some lawyers bill in 15 minute intervals. You are charged for every phone call with your lawyer. Remember, your lawyer sells time. Therefore, make a list of the topics you wish to discuss before you call so you will not forget what you wish to discuss. Also, call only when necessary.

Do not call your lawyer at home unless it is an emergency. Your lawyer does not have your file with him. Most lawyers charge double the hourly rate if you call them at home.

2. Seek outside help for emotional problems.

While divorce lawsuits are stressful and emotionally draining, your lawyer is not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It is less expensive to handle your stress by regular exercise, healthy diet and companionship with good friends. (Do not date however, because you are still married). If your condition is serious, seek professional help. Your lawyer can provide a referral.

3. Honesty is the best policy.

Your lawyer must know the good and bad points of your case. Your spouse's attorney will find out the bad points against you and exploit them. If you do not tell your lawyer the bad points, it will be more expensive for him to protect your rights and defend you. Additionally, he may not be adequately prepared to defend you if you have not told him the complete truth. Even if it hurts, you must tell your lawyer everything.

4. Fee disputes.

If you believe you have been over-charged, discuss it with your lawyer. If you are still dissatisfied, contact the bar fee dispute committee to mediate the dispute.

5. Keep your sense of humor.

Lawsuits are expensive. Sometimes the results are unfair. Seldom does anyone get everything they want in a lawsuit. However, keep your sense of humor. It will save you money by preventing you from litigating the non-essential points. If you are going to negotiate a settlement, remember both sides have to give to reach a settlement. Otherwise, no one wins but the lawyers.

6. Be responsible and don't sweat the petty stuff.

Determine what is important to you and set out a realistic goal to accomplish what you want. Don't fight over petty issues. In the long run, you spend more fighting than the issue is worth and only your lawyer wins.

7. Communicate with your spouse.

If possible, communicate with your spouse to see which issues you are able to resolve yourself. Open communication may help you achieve a better and sometimes faster settlement. Remember, if you have children, you will continue to have to deal with your spouse once the divorce is final.

8. Call for appointments.

When you need to discuss your case, call ahead and make an appointment. If you drop in to see your lawyer, you will be disappointed because more than likely he will be busy with other clients.