Here are some ideas to stop your legal bills from spiralling out of control.
It is true that in today's environment where the cost of living and the cost of housing is high many couples simply cannot afford to divorce.
Not all couples have the ability to stay together for financial reasons alone. There are a number of legal consequences to consider if you are in this situation. Call Valerie to discuss the legal considerations. Here are some ideas to consider to keep your legal fees from getting out of control.
1. It might be possible to save the relationship. Consider marriage counselling if this is the case but remember you both have to have a desire to explore this option. It takes two to tango as the saying goes.
2. Consider whether an annulment would be legally available to you in your circumstances.
3. You should obtain independent legal advice before discussing any possible agreements with your spouse. You can also have your lawyer prepare a settlement proposal as early in the process as possible and when appropriate financial disclosure has been made. Obviously, the sooner a reasonable agreement can be reached the less your legal fees will be. An agreement will also assist in obtaining the divorce sooner. By contrast the more clients are in contact with their lawyer, the more legal costs there will be.
4. Make sure you do not lean on your lawyer for excessive emotional support. Hire your own counsellor as well as your own lawyer. A counsellor is generally cheaper per hour than the hourly rate of your family lawyer. Allocate your resources between these 2 professionals and you will have a good chance of spending less on your legal fees.
5. When your lawyer asks you to obtain documents or to complete draft documents try to do what they ask you to do and do it in a timely way. The sooner you give them what they are looking for you eliminate repeated letters and follow up phone calls. These reminders cost you money.
6. Provide complete and honest financial disclosure. The ability of both spouses to provide a clear picture of their financial circumstances will go a long way to keeping your legal costs down. If one or both spouses fail to provide honest disclosure in a timely way this will usually result in delay and applications to court for production of information. This delay and added court appearance(s) for disclosure will increase your legal costs.
7. if you don't provide financial disclosure in advance of your Judicial Case Conference, you may be ordered to pay costs for failing to provide disclosure as set out in the Rules of the Court.
The lack of financial disclosure at your Judicial Case Conference will result in a lost opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with the Judge on outstanding financial issues such as maintenance and division of assets and debts. If the case is not resolved at your Judicial Case Conference this will mean more legal work is required to ready your file for trial. More legal work means more money paid for legal fees.