At Warsi Family Law, we understand that separation is tough, as is budgeting for yourself and your children, a new home, support, property division, and legal fees. There are tips and tricks to having a lawyer and still being able to conserve your costs.
For some, the financial disclosure exchange process can be the most difficult and time-consuming one. It doesn’t need to be though. I show all my clients exactly how to do Financial Statements and what’s needed to complete it as soon as possible.
Get statements for all of your assets and debts for your marriage date, separation date, and current date. Your bank should be able to provide you with these or you may even be able to go online and print it off yourself.
Scan and Email.
The more leg work you do, the less your lawyer’s office will need to do. Many law firms are paperless so it’ll save you time and money to scan your own disclosure and email it to your lawyer in pdf. Now your lawyer or her clerk won’t have to scan each document and statement you provide.
When you speak to or meet with your lawyer, be prepared. At your retainer meeting, your lawyer should have already given you a list of next steps that need to be taken, so it’s best to attend to those things as soon as possible. This will make the process move much faster and will not require your lawyer to follow up with you to ensure you comply with court or other deadlines.
Make an Appointment.
If you find you’re stuck or having difficulty understanding the court forms, rather than calling or emailing your lawyer every other day with one question at a time, make an appointment to go through all of it together. Make sure you have your list of questions on hand.
I find that having even one meeting with my client when they are confused about completing a document, is enough. During that meeting, we are often able to fill most of it together, provided that the client comes prepared with the documents needed. It saves a lot of time, money, and needless aggravation.
Keep Resolution as Your Goal.
The breakdown of a marriage can be challenging on an emotional level. It’s sometimes difficult to keep focused on the bigger picture, as I often see clients getting bogged down on minor details that are more emotionally relevant than related to any of the major issues. It’s important to keep perspective and maintain resolution as your goal, because fighting tooth and nail on every small issue can very quickly become a costly exercise.
Offers to Settle.
Offer well and offer often. This shows the other side you are serious about wanting to resolve and allows both parties to start looking at practical resolutions sooner. If your Offer to Settle is accepted by the other side, this could resolve your matter entirely. If both sides exchange Offers to Settle, it allows fruitful negotiating to start so everyone can get to that bottom line faster and more cost-effectively.
If you have a business meeting before your weekend access and know that you will be an hour late to pick up the children, call or text your ex in advance to let them know. If you both are amicable, odds are the other parent won’t mind accommodating, as they know sooner or later they will need you to extend them the same courtesy. Simple issues such as these can be addressed and resolved between the spouses instead of negotiating it through lawyers.