Tips to Reduce Legal Costs When Separating
Separation can take a toll on you in many ways; financially, emotionally and even psychologically.
While the emotional and psychological effects may take some time to heal. The financial effect, if not properly handled could lead to depression or more emotional and psychological problems. To help reduce the possibility of more heartbreak, here are a few ways to lighten the financial burden:
- Make a chronological timeline of events leading up to the separation
Prepare a brief chronology/timeline of your relationship/marriage, setting out the dates of significant events leading up to the separation.
- Organise your documents
Your lawyer will no doubt ask for documents. Obtain a list of documents needed for the separation proceedings from your lawyer and go to look for those documents and organise them. Organise your documents by categories and date. If you would need to keep the original o the documents, make copies of the necessary documents. Organising your documents reduces your bill as it gives your lawyer less paperwork.
- List Assets and liabilities
Make a list of all your property (assets and liabilities) and include adequate information about who owns each property and the approximate values of each property. Should a disagreement ever arise as to the value of your assets, you can always obtain professional valuations from external sources. However, if your former partner does not accept the external valuation of the property, both parties would then need to engage the services of an independent valuer.
- Financial Disclosure
Make a well-detailed analysis of your financial position and make it available to your lawyer in a folder. While preparing the document, take into account sources of income, taxes, bonds and investments and other binding financial obligations. Read and understand the terms and conditions of the disclosure notice and the cost agreement. Your lawyer is always there to clear any misunderstanding, so don’t hesitate to ask.
- Time spent with Lawyer
Lawyers charge for the time they spend working on your case, this includes time spent during telephone calls, personal meetings and emails. Therefore, before any meeting make sure you have talking points prepared, resist the temptation to interrupt or digress and try not to send too many emails. The more time your lawyer spends on your case the higher the bill.
- Lawyer not Counsellor
Make sure to engage the services of a lawyer that specialises in separation and divorce proceedings and has a high success rate. Understand that while you are going through an emotional rollercoaster, your lawyer’s duty is to provide legal counsel, not emotional support. They may be sympathetic to your situation, but you should direct all emotional issues to expert emotional counsellors to avoid unnecessarily increasing the time spent with your lawyer’s time and consequently increasing your overall charge.
- Don’t make emotional decisions
It is hard to not let your emotions cloud your decisions in the separation proceeding. However, emotional decisions in cases like this have financial consequences. Refusing to agree to reasonable proposals usually lengthens proceedings.
Separation can be hard, but financial troubles after separation are worse. Save yourself the extra heartache and use these tips to get reduced legal cost of separation.