Of all the negative aspects of a divorce, I think that the cost of a case tends to be at the top of most people’s lists when discussing why they do not want to deal with the prospects of filing and maintaining a case. In many ways, a lot of people are more satisfied with living a life That is less than ideal rather than going through the process that is hard on them and their families. Being a family law attorney I have seen many people struggle with divorce and determining whether or not filing a case is right for them. The correct time to decide on whether or not it is right to follow divorce for your family is before the case begins. It does not make sense for you to file a case and then wonder if he made the right decision.
This is where I would like to begin when discussing how to reduce the costs of a divorce. Simply put, the best way that I can think of to reduce the costs of a divorce is to avoid getting one in the first place. For starters, you should only move forward with the divorce if you believe that it is the only option available to you. If there are any other options available to you in terms of salvaging your marriage then you should attempt to work towards those options. Counseling, therapy, direct conversation with your spouse, or a combination of all three should be attempted if you think that doing so will help avoid a divorce.
True enough, these are not options that may be the most appealing to you. If you are going through problems in communication with your Co-parent then talking with him or she about the issues in your marriage may sound about as appealing as going to the dentist to have a tooth pulled. However, unless you are willing to engage in this type of conversation and work with your Co-parent on this then any chance of saving your marriage will go out the window. Rather, and we need to approach this subject with humility. What can you do to improve the trajectory of your marriage? What can your spouse do to do the same? these are the questions that you need to ask yourself as you begin to consider moving forward with a divorce.
Ultimately, it may be the considerations that are related to your children which are the most important to you. If you are the parent of children, especially young children, then it may not be 100% everything focused on you as far as determining whether or not a divorce should be filed. The decision to try to salvage a marriage for the sake of your children is an intensely personal one. To say that you need to stay in a marriage that is failing for a potential benefit to your children would be a mistake. However, it will be just as much of a mistake to tell you that you should ignore any benefit to your children and family by attempting to work on a marriage period that personal decision must be reached by you and your spouse.
Overall, one thing I can tell you which will not be helpful to your marriage or family life is to not file for divorce and then also do nothing to determine whether or not your marriage can be salvage. This is the worst of both worlds: deciding to do nothing, either way, puts you at a relational and time disadvantage. It hurts you relationally because you are not trying to further any goals that you might have in saving your relationship. It puts you at a time disadvantage because you are losing valuable time that could be spent figuring out whether or not a divorce is right for you and your family.
One thing is that we do not have an unlimited supply of his time. While it may feel like time is standing still due to this pandemic the reality is that we do not have unlimited amounts of time to be able to make decisions. The more time you spend on other things, ignoring the subject of your divorce The worse off he will be. it is not knowing one way or another that your marriage is failing or can be saved that hurts our period it is not knowing. you should take the time and put in the effort to determine whether or not you have a marriage that can be saved. Once you have performed analysis and hopefully worked with your spouse and answering the question you will have Peace of Mind because you will know which direction to move in.
Please note that it is possible to stop a divorce midway because you and your spouse have attempted to reconcile with one another. Yours certainly would not be the first divorce that is either stop completely or put on pause because the spouses have reconciled. However, you should not bank on this happening in your case. Once the wheels of a divorce case begin to move forward it is difficult to apply the brakes and go backward. Rather, you can certainly work towards a reconciliation during a divorce but there is some powerful entropy involved in a case like this once it is filed and the legal mechanisms take hold.
Rather, you should work towards a goal of determining whether or not the divorce is necessary long before you file the case. From there, you can meet with professionals such as experienced family law attorneys to decide on whether or not a divorce is something that will be in your best interest in that of your children. The more legwork you perform and the more effort you put into saving your marriage the better off you will be in the more peaceful the decision will be to file for a divorce period until then, leave no stone unturned when it comes to working towards a resolution to the problems you have with your spouse to determine whether or not you can stay in your marriage.
Choose your attorney wisely
When it comes to the immediate costs of a divorce I think that the decision you make regarding what attorney to hire can be among the most important that you make when it comes to reducing or minimizing costs in your divorce. Once you began looking for an attorney you may quickly find that there are wide-ranging costs between various lawyers. Just like with any other topic it is up to you as a consumer to learn as much about the product that you are purchasing.
While hiring a family law attorney is different than buying a new refrigerator there are some comparisons that I think are valid. The best thing I can tell you is that you should be trying to perform as much research as possible on the attorneys that you are considering hiring. Just as you would not go to a store and by the first refrigerator that you see, it would not make sense for you to hire the first lawyer whose name or face you come across on the Internet or driving on the street. Rather, performing basic research on the attorneys would make a lot of sense.
The difficulty with this piece of advice is not so much gaining access to information but the opposite. In this day and age, we suffer from access to too much information, if anything. Generations ago people had to gain information about an attorney through word of mouth and meeting with the lawyer personally. While I still think that meeting with an attorney is the best thing you can do you also have I limit an unlimited amount of Internet space to be able to learn about other people’s opinions on the attorney that you are considering hiring.
Some of the reviews and the information you find on these attorneys can be helpful. However, looking up the reviews of an attorney online is a lot like reading the comments online newspaper articles you read on the Internet. The worthwhile comments are few and far between while the absolutely off base and unfair comments may be much more plentiful. You do not want to rely entirely upon what you read online to act as a guide towards what lawyer you will ultimately hire.
The one thing that I would look for, as far as performing basic Internet research on an attorney, is to determine whether or not the attorney that you are hiring is a family law lawyer. The trouble with divorce cases is that many attorneys consider themselves capable of representing unit the divorce even if they have never set foot in a courtroom on behalf of a divorce client. Just because a lawyer is licensed to practice law in Texas does not mean that he or she has the requisite experience and knows how to take your case and represent you to the best of their abilities. Rather, you should be looking for an attorney who has experience in divorce cases specifically.
Take a look at the attorney’s website. If you see that he or she brands themselves as a general practice attorney, doesn’t mention anything about divorce cases, and provides you with little to no information about divorce in Texas then I would be wary of hiring that attorney. You can always reach out to that lawyer and seek an interview with him or her but not mentioning family law on the website or specifying the labor practice primarily in another area of the law would be a major red flag to me as a person who is in the market for a divorce attorney. You should have some pause in hiring an attorney who does not focus on family law cases.
Ultimately, the most important factor in hiring an attorney is the ability to meet with him or her in a one-on-one setting where you can listen to their ideas about divorce and then talk to the lawyer about your specific circumstances. For instance, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan offer free of charge consultations six days a week where you can meet with one of our attorneys over the phone, in person, or via video. Everyone has a different idea about how an attorney should conduct themselves or what ideas they have about divorced. While it should not be unrealistic to think that you can change the opinions or approach of a practicing attorney you can determine whether or not their approach lines up with your values and how you want to conduct your case.
For this reason, you should approach your consultation with an attorney like you would a job interview. The main thing to remember is that you would fill the role of the employer and your potential attorney would fill the role of an employee. Many clients, I tend to believe, feel like the roles are the opposite. However, the client does not work for the attorney. It is the opposite: your attorney very much works for you and serves your purposes within the divorce. This is the approach that you should go into these attorney consultations with. Allow the attorney to talk to you about their approach to divorce and their ideas about your specific circumstances. It is only through listening to this sort of information that you can gain any kind of insight or knowledge into how the attorney will likely operate as your counsel.
Beyond this attribute of the attorney-client relationship, you should consider whether or not you feel that this lawyer matches up with you from a personality standpoint. Remember that a family law case is intensely personal and requires you to have a great deal of trust in the person representing you. Your children, your relationship with them, your finances, and the future of your life hinged on the quality of representation you receive in your case.
If you do not feel that the attorney you are meeting with is a good fit for you there is nothing wrong with that. Different attorneys work better with different clients. You should not hire the first attorney you meet with but rather should hire an attorney that you feel complements you and your case. That means different things to different people and it may require you to meet with a handful of lawyers before deciding on which is right for you.
Mediate don’t litigate
Finally, I think the most important way for you to potentially save money in a divorce case would be to do everything you can to avoid having to go to court in the first place. A big misnomer when it comes to a divorce is that you and your spouse will be spending a great deal of time in the courtroom. While it is true that there may be a hearing or two required of you in your divorce the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to a trial where the judge will be determining the ultimate issues in your case.
Rather, it is much more likely that you and your spouse will attend mediation to settle the issues of your case rather than go directly to court and have a multiple-day trial. Mediation is an opportunity for you and your attorney and the attorney and opposing party in your case to come together to work with a third party to settle any outstanding issues in your case. All issues of your divorce both from a property and child custody perspective will attempt to be sorted out in mediation. Any settlement agreement you can come to will be included in a mediated settlement agreement that the mediator drafts at the end of your mediation session. Any issues that are not settled would then go to court.
Going to trial is not the worst thing to happen in your case but it is costly in terms of time and money. It is not uncommon for the costs of a divorce case to double in the short period between final orders mediation and the end of your trial. So important is all the preparation work that goes into a divorce trial period additionally, depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case you may be in line for a multiple-day trial where the attorney is billing you for every second he or she spends away from the office. This can cause the costs of your case to escalate a great deal. All in all, you would be wise to seriously consider what you can accomplish in mediation rather than risking an outcome in court that could cost you more than just money.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.