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How to Save Money When Hiring An Attorney For Your Divorce

Hiring an attorney to assist in your divorce can be extremely expensive. One way to reduce this expense is by educating yourself on the attorney billing process and being smart about how you use the hours you pay your attorney.


Consultations

Some, but not all attorneys offer free consultations. These consultations may be face to face, online, or over the phone. Prior to retaining an attorney, ask the attorney whether they charge a fee for consultations or if the consultation is free.


Billing Intervals

At the beginning of your representation, consider asking your attorney whether they utilize a flat fee system, or whether they use hourly billing, which is more common in family law. Additionally, if the attorney utilizes “hourly” billing, consider asking the attorney what their billing intervals are. Some attorneys will bill in 6 minute increments, 15 minute increments, or other variations in between. This knowledge will arm you with information on how long you should speak to your attorney or how long of an email you should draft.



Utilize Email Rather than Telephone Calls

Utilizing email allows you to consider what questions you need to ask your attorney. You provide many questions for an attorney to reference in one place. Additionally, attempt to utilize a single, longer email rather than multiple short emails. Some attorneys will bill based on each email answered at their minimum billing interval rather than utilizing one or two billing intervals to answer a single email.


Tips for Phone Calls

Prior to calling your attorney, brainstorm a list of questions you would like to ask them. This will prevent you from losing your train of thought or forgetting why you called your attorney in the first place. Carefully consider what you discuss with your attorney as you are being charged in billing intervals. Also, if you struggle to remember details from phone calls, think about writing down notes throughout the phone call so you can remember your attorney's answers to your questions. Most attorneys will bill you whether you have already discussed the topic or not, so this ensures that you do not pay for the same information twice.


Consider setting a timer on your phone at the billing increment so you are cognizant of how long you are speaking with your attorney. It can be easy to lose track of time when discussing your case with your attorney. Further, prevent using your time with your lawyer as a venting session about your situation, your spouse, or family members. Remember, you are paying your attorney to be your legal advocate. Consider contacting a licensed therapist to process your feelings and emotions associated with your divorce. Additionally, sometimes therapy is covered by your health insurance, while you must fully cover your legal cost.


Junior Associates, Paralegals, and Legal Associates

Some individuals get upset when their attorney will refer them to a Junior Associate Attorney or Paralegal to answer simple questions or draft basic legal paperwork. However, this is generally in your best interest because Associate Attorneys and Paralegals will bill at a lower hourly rate than a more experienced attorney. During your initial conversation, it is a good idea to discuss whether the attorney will utilize Paralegals or Junior Attorney’s for your case, and what the bill rate is for their services.


Overall, the most important cost saving tip when hiring an attorney is to simply be cognizant of how much you are spending on an attorney. Consider reading The Split’s blog posts to save yourself money by becoming knowledgeable on the basics of divorce.



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