Top 10 Tips to Avoid a Divorce Disaster

Advice from an Insightful Syracuse Divorce Attorney

As a Syracuse divorce lawyer in practice for more than a decade, I have first-hand knowledge on the monetary concerns of my clients. Dividing marital assets can have a significant impact on your future financial stability. When you factor in preventable and unnecessary legal expenses, the costs can skyrocket. I'm Attorney Laurin Haddad and I have dedicated my practice to assisting individuals through real life legal issues. Easing the stress and worries burdening my clients is always my first priority. Financial fear should never prevent anyone from acquiring skilled legal counsel when they need it most. The following are some suggestions and advice on how to reduce the cost of your divorce proceeding.

1) Get to Know Your Divorce Attorney & Their Services

Having a good rapport with the attorney who will be your advocate is important, but comprehending what services he or she can provide and the fees charged for them is crucial to prevent an enormous and unexpected bill once your divorce is settled. Before signing any retainer, read it over carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions. Pay close attention to your attorney's hourly rate, what time increments they use for billing, and discover what additional charges you may accrue such as travel time, paralegal work, or postage expenses.

2) Try to Reduce Conflict

This may sound ridiculous. After all, conflicts are usually a primary reason for the ending of a marriage. However, keeping calm and attempting to peacefully negotiate the terms of divorce can go a long way to smooth the process. Chances are, you are still going to connect with your spouse after the divorce, especially if you have children. Keeping an open line of communication can only make things easier. Conversely, any obstruction, especially a contentious dispute, takes additional time and adds to the final cost of the divorce.

3) Negotiate Ahead of Time with Your Spouse

If you are able to communicate effectively with your soon-to-be ex, having at least a general idea of terms such as custody arrangements, alimony, and division of property can greatly reduce the cost of your divorce. A reputable attorney can advise you on whether the decisions you have made beforehand protect your rights and best interests. Having your lawyer do all the negotiating for you, especially if they need to do any investigative work, can increase your expenses.

4) Know Your Debts & Assets. Be Able to Provide Proof.

Beginning any divorce with a complete picture of your financial portfolio is a tremendous tool. Acquire credit reports and bring in copies of any and all account statements, including pension plans and bank accounts. Hire an appraiser to assess the value of any real estate or business. Make copies for yourself as well as your attorney. Any documentation or information you can provide is less work your lawyer will need to do and charge you for.

5) Your Attorney Is Your Legal Counselor, Not Your Therapist

While your lawyer should be supportive and empathetic to your needs, they are not a trained therapist. Keep in mind, every moment your spend either on the phone or at an appointment with your attorney is a minute you are being charged for. Try to limit your discussions with your attorney to matters pertaining to your divorce proceedings.

6) Consult with a Financial Planner

Along with knowing your current debt and assets, being aware of your future financial needs is crucial to prepare for life on your own. The expense of constructing a plan with a trained and experienced financial advisor can often be less than time spent with your attorney and more effective.

7) Choose Your Battles Carefully

For each hurdle you may encounter in your divorce proceedings, ask yourself the following question, "Is the emotional and financial toll of this battle worth the possible outcome?" Many couples argue for arguments sake, never taking into account their monetary ramifications. Acquiescing to certain demands can leave you more money to fight for the issues that really matter to you.

8) Use Email Sparingly

Did you know most attorneys charge more to review an email than they would to answer a quick question over the phone? Email your attorney only for necessary legal issues or you can deplete your retainer sooner than anticipated.

9) Answer Your Attorney's Questions in a Timely Manner

An accomplished divorce attorney will have more than one case on his or her calendar. To save time, try to answer your lawyer's questions promptly and while they are focusing on your case. Not answering in a timely manner can extend the length of your proceedings. Additionally, if a significant period has elapsed, your attorney will have to spend valuable time getting back up to speed and may charge you for it.

10) Carefully Review Your Bills and Pay Promptly

As soon as you receive your monthly statement, carefully review it. If there are any discrepancies, notify your attorney in a separate communication from other issues regarding your case. Keep in mind, your attorney has bills to pay, as well. Clients who pay promptly are highly valued and appreciated.

Schedule an Initial Consultation with a Skilled Lawyer

Meeting with a potential legal advocate to express your concerns and discover the options available is a crucial juncture in choosing a divorce attorney. I would love to meet with you to outline how we could best work together during your divorce. Contact Haddad Law Office, P.C. today to get started.