A family law matter is often both emotionally and financially trying for the individuals involved. Family law matters can be expensive and most clients are understandably concerned about costs involved. It is my experience that excessive attorney fees can result from my client’s own fears and anxiety. You can reduce your fees by following these simple guidelines:
- Remember the high cost of telephone calls. It may be helpful for you to keep personal notes regarding questions that enter your mind. Reserve your telephone call until you have thought about what it is you really need to know on more than one issue. You may further wish to address your concerns in writing, which will allow you to organize your thoughts. I suggest email is usually the most cost effective and preferred communication mode.
- Remember that my services are primarily legal. In order to represent you effectively, I need to know intimate information about you, your spouse and children. Unless you are thinking clearly, you may be inclined to make some decisions that could ultimately be extremely costly to you. However, the need to know information does not mean that I am trained to address emotional crises. For those reasons, some time might be spent with you exploring this interaction, especially at the beginning of the case. Yet, at some point, sharing your experiences and problems with me may fail to generate a return worth the added costs that will appear on your monthly statement. You may find that counseling or coaching is a more appropriate forum for addressing these emotional concerns. I also suggest that you rely upon your friends and family for support during this emotional time. They are certainly a cheaper resource for emotional support. However, please do not rely on family and friends for legal advice. Remember that your case and situation is unique and what was done in another case may not be in your best interests.
- Participate as effectively as you can in your own case. Your time will be less expensive to you than mine. Therefore, I will request that you obtain and organize as much of the information and documents for your case as possible. For example, you may receive a “Request for Production of Documents” containing a long list of documents, which must be provided to the opposing party. If you bring me a haphazard collection of documents such as a grocery bag full of receipts and bank statements, I or a member of my staff will have to organize them and you will pay the full hourly rate for these services. The more you organize the documents requested, the less you will pay in fees and costs to my office. Any questions you have regarding the method of organization will gladly be answered by me or my staff and this is one area in which you can save yourself considerable fees.
- Unfortunately, many times requests must be made of you that require an immediate response. When information is requested of you or some action is required on your part, follow my directions and respond as quickly as possible. Your delay can be costly in that it will require follow-up action on my part. Remember, if you require prodding, you are paying for that attention.
- Think positively toward the settlement of your case. Because judges often dispose of cases in ways that disappoint both parties, it is almost always best to settle a case if one can obtain a fair settlement. Therefore, as soon as we have enough information to understand what is at issue, we will seek your authority to negotiate a settlement. A trial is the most costly route to the completion of your family law matter.
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