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Divorce costs and how to reduce them

In "The Financial Costs of Going to Court – If You Get There", divorce financial planner Joan Coullahan elaborates on one really expensive part of a divorce case which people ordinarily don't think about -- the intensive, all-consuming trial preparation that happens in cases which do not go to trial, but which settle only in the last few days before the trial. (There are many other expensive phases of the litigation process, too, such as the initial "pendente lite" hearing on temporary arrangements while the divorce is going on; the "discovery" process; enforcement of "pendent lite" orders,  and many other expensive sideshows.)

She then gives six major ways clients can reduce the costs -- it would be wrong to say "control" the costs because the costs are still often out of control, and depend on how much court action or other difficulty the other side, or the judge, initiates, as well as how much of it you initiate.  But these are the major things that help significantly in all cases to not only reduce the costs, but to make your attorney be better prepared and organized and leave him or her more time and energy for preparation, strategy, and tactics, and for negotiating an educated, well-understood settlement which you won't regret later.

I would add, don't just give your lawyer all your financial information, but also organize it, unless of course that means that the lawyer gets it too late. The most important thing is to provide the information. But even better is to provide it and organize it. And the best thing of all is to provide it and organize it according to an organizing pattern requested by your lawyer, so that he or she will know exactly where to look for particular facts and won't have to learn your particular organizing system.

The Financial Costs of Going to Court – If You Get There


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