6 Ways to Save Lots of Money in Your Tennessee Divorce
Divorce costs may appear to be increasing exponentially, but your Collierville, Tennessee, divorce does not have to break the bank. There are several simple techniques that can help keep legal costs down without weakening your case in any way.
Maintaining Control of Your Attorney’s Fees
Maintaining control of your attorney’s fees should never interfere with or diminish the quality and legal strategy of your family law case. You can stay in control of your attorney’s fees (and you won’t have to go to law school to do it). Take a moment to watch our video on Keeping Divorce Lawyer’s Fees Down. Good advice that won’t cost you a penny!
To get you started on a more efficient path, here are six ways to save lots of money in your Tennessee divorce:
1. Do your divorce homework. All of it.
Do all of the homework assigned by your divorce lawyer and do it timely, no avoiding the inevitable, no excuses. Immerse yourself in pertinent legal terminology and court procedure. Read up on the child support guidelines. Study how marital property and debts are divided. Learn about the different forms of alimony, and so on. Listen to podcasts, read newsletters, watch videos about the TN divorce process, these are the essential building blocks for a successful outcome. How many hours you spend in your lawyer’s office will depend, in large part, on your ability to comprehend the nuances of Tennessee law. You need to communicate easily with your lawyer, so the sooner you grasp basic divorce concepts the better.
2. Gather and organize your information. Be very thorough.
You will need to gather and organize documents, everything your lawyer requests for the case. (This can be an unpleasant job, but as Horace the Roman said: “don’t think, just do.”) By being efficient, organized, and thorough, you can reduce the amount of time your attorney and paralegal spend handling the documents and information. You will burn through your legal team’s time (and set fire to your wallet) by offering up the information in a disorganized, piecemeal fashion.
3. Make optimal use of paralegals and staff professionals. They’re smart people and they’re on your side.
When something could be done by a paralegal instead of a lawyer, ask for the paralegal to do the task. The reason is simple: paralegals, legal assistants, and staff professionals are billed at a much lower hourly rate than a licensed attorney practicing in Collierville, TN. An experienced paralegal is the lawyer’s right arm, an indispensable person. If a question can be answered by the paralegal, then there’s no need to engage your attorney in the discussion. If court papers can be completed by the paralegal, then ask that your attorney merely review the final draft.
4. Pick your battles and don’t battle everything.
Do not feel that you need to challenge your spouse on every single issue in the divorce. “Pick your battles,” as Miles Mason advises, and make sure that you and your attorney are on the same page with regard to legal strategy. That focus can really help keep your attorney’s billable hours in check. During divorce negotiations, for example, decide whether it is worth paying your lawyer to fight for the antique floral sofa or to just “let it go.” Is it better to spend your attorney dollars to negotiate a parenting plan or to argue over who should get the big screen TV? (No, that was not a trick question.)
5. Group your questions and then call.
To save money, group your questions and then arrange a phone call to a member of your legal team. Avoid getting into the expensive habit of calling the law office every time a question pops into your head. Of course you need answers, but it is far more efficient for everyone if you jot your questions down in a notebook, or journal, as they occur to you. Then, when you have a group of questions, arrange to cover those concerns with your paralegal or lawyer over telephone. Rest assured, your paralegal knows when it is time to turn the communications over to the lawyer. So set up a time and have your batched questions ready. Cover general questions with the paralegal first. If there are still outstanding matters to discuss, such as the likelihood of success on the merits, then arrange to speak with your lawyer.
6. Read your statements.
This may sound obvious, but always read your lawyer’s statement when it arrives. Make sure you know what you were billed for and why. Do the expenses match what was agreed? Anyone can make an error, so be sure to examine the bill carefully and, if you have a question about the amount, make a note of it. Then contact your lawyer as soon as possible, before memories fade, to get it explained and straightened out.
Need Help with Your Tennessee Divorce?
The Miles Mason Family Law Group handles Tennessee divorce, child support, alimony, child custody, and parent relocation. Save even more money by downloading our FREE e-Book, Your First Steps: 7 Steps Planning Your Tennessee Divorce. A Memphis divorce lawyer from the Miles Mason Family Law Group can help. To schedule your confidential consultation, call us today at (901) 683-1850.