Spouses sometimes put off filing for divorce for years because they’re afraid of the costs involved, while others go through a “do it yourself” filing process to avoid paying for a lawyer. Unfortunately, the money you save on an experienced Washington divorce lawyer might be far less than what they could negotiate for you in your final property settlement. While the cost of hiring an attorney can be daunting, there are many ways to reduce your fees and make it through your divorce in a strong financial position.
Tips to Keep Your Legal Fees Low During Divorce in Washington State
One of the best ways to avoid overspending during divorce is to learn as much as possible about the process. Not only does this save time when working with your attorney, but it also prevents you from making costly mistakes that you’ll have to undo later. Our divorce and family law library is an excellent place to start researching Washington community property laws, custody arrangements, and often-contested matters during separation from a spouse.
Other ways to save money on legal costs in divorce include:
You will likely have questions for your attorney throughout the process, so make sure you streamline all of your communications. Write down each question as you think of it, then send one email at the end of the day (or week) so your layer can answer each one. Email is always better for communication than a phone call since you can refer back to the answer if you need to remember the precise wording. Reserve phone calls for emergency situations.
Your attorney will need information from you regularly as your divorce progresses, and any delays can increase the time (and money) spent on legal fees. If your attorney sends you a letter, email, or form to complete, make sure you respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Do Your Homework
Your lawyer will give you a list of tasks to complete, such as gathering documents, compiling witness declarations, or drafting answers to interrogatories. If you don’t complete these things on time, your attorney might do it for you, adding to your overall costs. Vague answers to questions or insufficient information will always cost your attorney more time, which means more billable hours.
Try to Avoid Litigation
Most divorces settle out of court, but those that proceed to litigation are by far the most costly. Your attorney’s job is to fight for you, so they will respect your wishes if you insist on going to court—but the longer litigation lasts, the more expensive it will be. If you pick your battles carefully, you may be able to get what matters most to you without taking your dispute in front of a judge. Litigation is only recommended for the most desperate situations since there’s always the possibility of losing in court. Even if you ultimately win at trial, you will likely lose a large portion of your savings and suffer emotional upheaval for weeks or months.
Let a Washington State Divorce Attorney Explain Your Options
Divorce is hard enough with second-guessing every decision you make. The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can guide you through the process and help you start the next phase of your life with confidence. Call us at 425-460-0550 today to arrange a private consultation, or read through our free guide, 9 Urban Myths About Divorce That Can Hurt You.