Divorce and Utah divorce attorneys can be expensive. (This said, you might be surprised to know that an average divorce at a competitively priced divorce law firm costs less than maintaining your car for one year.) Fortunately, there are strategies to minimize the bills from your divorce attorney. Let’s talk about a few.
(Note: It might seem odd for a divorce attorney to explain how to reduce your bills, but it really isn’t. These are the same strategies we share with our clients at the beginning of their cases. Paying too much for a divorce doesn’t help anyone.)
Before we talk strategies, let me explain how attorneys bill. Almost all attorneys bill for the time spent on a case. This form of billing is called the “billable hour.” Every task completed on a case is billed separately, and usually at a minimum rate of .2 hours (i.e., 12 minutes). So, when you exchange emails with your attorney for five minutes, you will be billed .2 hours. So, minimizing time is the key to minimizing your bills. With that, let’s talk strategies.
First, maximize the efficiency of your communications with your attorney. If you send emails to your attorney everyday asking only one question in every email, your bill will be sky high. If, instead, you send one email containing a number of questions that can be answered at the same time, your attorney will spend less time answering your questions and will bill you less. Same goes for phone calls. If you call your attorney everyday, expect a large bill.
Second, do what your attorney asks you to do, and do it quickly. If your attorney asks you for documents, get him or her those documents ASAP. If your attorney asks you to do something, do it right then. If you don’t, your attorney will need to follow up with you multiple times, which takes time, and your case will languish, which increases costs.
Third, minimize conflict with your soon-to-be ex. There is no surer way of blowing up your divorce costs than having constant conflict with your ex. This doesn’t mean you roll over and play dead, but swearing at and insulting your ex in texts and emails will absolutely increase acrimony and costs. People are much less likely to negotiate when they are disrespected.
We hope these strategies help you control the costs of your divorce.