Clients view retaining attorneys as a necessary evil. They know they should retain one, but they hate to pay fees. Most matrimonial and family law attorneys are retained on an hourly basis, meaning they bill at a set rate on a time basis. Waste or squander your attorney’s time, and you waste your money.
A client, looking to minimize his/her legal fees can do a number of things to minimize his legal fees:
1. When retaining an attorney, be prepared to supply relevant financial documents, including bank and financial statements, tax returns, mortgage applications, loan documents and credit card bills.
2. Do not fight over assets that are of limited value. As I have written before, it simply does not make sense to litigate and run up huge legal bills that will dwarf the value of the assets to be acquired.
3. Pick your battles and remember moral victories cost money. You may want to be proven right or vindicated on some issue, but if it does not advance your case, you may want to conserve your resources.
4. Recognize that when you communicate with your attorney, the meter is running. If you call your attorney, situate yourself in a room where you will not be interrupted and can freely talk. Do not put take other telephone calls while speaking with your attorney. Although you may are on another line, the attorney is on hold and the meter continues to run.
5. Do not force the attorney to practice defensively. If the attorney feels he/she has to put everything in writing to you, or that every communication with you must be confirmed in writing, you are going to increase your legal fees.
6. Be candid with your attorney. In litigation, lies or falsehoods are always discovered.
7. Don’t litigate only to be vindictive. A strategy which is simply, “If I can’t have it, neither can you” results in only large legal fees.
In the end, if you wish to minimize your legal expense, be prepared, professional, reasonable and candid; then hope that your spouse will reciprocate,