Let’s be honest: divorce costs money, and litigation is the most expensive way to do it. Here are my top 10 ways to economize in a litigated divorce:
  1. Gather as much financial information by yourself as you can. Ideally this includes information for you and your spouse, separately and together.  If later it’s necessary to supplement this with information from your spouse, the work you’ve done on your own can serve as a cross-check and highlight areas of inconsistency.
  2. Organize information before giving it to your attorney. Organize it the way s/he suggests. If your attorney doesn’t tell you how to organize it, ask.
  3. Agree with your attorney when you will deliver information to him/her. Deliver it on or before the agreed date; your attorney may have made commitments to your spouse’s attorney about when financial information can be exchanged. Failure to honor these commitments may occasion motion practice in court, adding unnecessary costs.
  4. Disclose all facts to your attorney, whether or not you believe they’re important.  Your attorney can separate legally relevant facts from irrelevant ones, and surprises can be embarrassing and costly.
  5. Listen to and seriously consider your attorney’s advice. After all, it is what you’re paying for, and a seasoned divorce lawyer — provided s/he has all the all the facts — can bring a wealth of experience to a client’s decision-making process.
  6. If you have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement rather than continue litigating, respond promptly to your attorney when s/he asks questions. Delays can sabotage a deal.
  7. Understand yourself. Know and experience your feelings. It is normal that emotion plays a part in divorce. However, while emotion is a very real part of your experience as a client, it is not how a court looks at issues in your case.
  8. Be reasonable. Judges don’t appreciate it you’re not, so being unreasonable can be costly. Stand back, take an objective look and ask yourself whether you’re being reasonable or not.
  9. Don’t make decisions on your own and implement them without discussing them with your attorney. They can trigger a motion from the other side that you will have to respond to in court, which of course costs money.
  10. Understand that your attorney is skilled in legal matters and is not trained as a therapist.  Using your attorney as a therapist, however good a listener s/he may be, is not economical.