You want to spend as little as possible on your divorce; I get it. Perhaps you have limited financial resources and there are no additional funds for attorneys.
Maybe you’ve heard the commonly expressed belief that you can save money by working out the issues in your divorce privately or with a mediator and avoid getting lawyers involved. You believe that if you hire lawyers right away, it will cost more in the long run.
Perhaps you enlist your spouse in private settlement discussions or in the mediation process without first consulting an attorney. In doing so, you fail to consider that you or your spouse has minimal knowledge of the marital income, assets, and debt and/or you don’t trust one another to be forthright in sharing this crucial information. What you also might not know is that mediators generally do not draft legally binding divorce agreements.
Under such circumstances, reacting from fear that you will lose money that you don’t have by jumping into the settlement discussions or the mediation process without legal advice could result in a considerable waste of time and money and in fact cost much more in the long run.
Where there is lack of knowledge of the marital income, assets and debt combined with little trust between you and your spouse, private settlement discussions or mediation are likely to fall apart. Alternatively, you might enter into a divorce agreement through mediation that falls short to what you may be entitled to under the law and fails to meet your needs and goals for the future.
By this time, chances are that animosity between you and your spouse has escalated from ongoing conflict. Therefore, the fees that you do pay an attorney are likely to be far more substantial.
The smarter and more cost effective approach is to start by educating yourself about the different legal processes available to you, such as litigation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and arbitration. Also it is essential that you examine your needs, interests, and goals for the future and what is most important for you to achieve.
Then invest in a good lawyer who concentrates exclusively in divorce and family matters. If you do, your lawyer will likely be able to help you devise creative options for settlement that meet your particular needs, interests and goals for the future. He or she is also more likely to navigate the family court system more efficiently. When you approach your divorce in such a manner, the fees for an attorney can be looked upon as an investment in your future, rather than an unpleasant costly expense.