Reduce the cost of divorce and get a better life after divorce

Divorce is never going to be cheap, whether you take the traditional course using a solicitor or work in a more collaborative way through family mediation.

However, there are ways to reduce the cost and get the best value from your solicitor.  Solicitors usually charge by the hour and by the fraction of an hour.  They are looking to maximize their "billable hours" so even the briefest of telephone conversations will be charged. 

alienated coupleSort out the way of working before you start the process
It's absolutely vital to discuss the expected costs before you engage a solicitor.  If you can negotiate a fixed cost for the divorce this may be the best plan.  However, do remember to define exactly what this fixed cost covers.  If you decide to go with a per hour basis then get the best estimate for the time it should take. 

The more complex and lengthy the divorce process the more expensive it will be.  If it goes all the way to court and barristers are involved then the sky's the limit.  Don't do this unless you have lots of money to spend!  Here are some ways of reducing costs.  The less the divorce costs the better off you will be in your new life. 

Do not call your solicitor unless it's absolutely necessary
Think carefully what you want to say and have the points written out so you don't miss anything.  Resist using your solicitor as a therapist.  Ranting on about the irrational behaviour and sheer bloody mindedness of your spouse will be very expensive.  Solicitors did not choose their profession because of their profound concern for the human condition.  Talk to a friend or find a real counseller (much cheaper than a solicitor anyway).

Call your lawyer's secretary, but not too often
Your lawyer's secretary may not bill for time on the phone with you and if she does she will be cheaper.  Do this sparingly as you need her on your side so don't call them all the time with unnecessary questions, they aren't going to like you for that.

Get your paperwork and financial records organised yourself
This is really important.  One of the first things that happens in a divorce is an assessment of your joint financial position.  Getting all the stuff together, like bank records, credit card records, pension fund statements, tax returns, and any other miscellaneous financial asset, can be a mammoth task.  It's part of the pain but has to be done.  Organise all of these in chronological order, and put each of them in folders, ideally with summaries that state what everything is and where it is, so that everything can be found easily and quickly.

Wherever possible, pay as you go
Solicitors will sometimes let you run up a bill for the work done.  Again not a good plan, pay regularly and monitor the progress of the work so you can assess the likely fees in the future.  Paying regularly will help you avoid spending a lot of extra time on stuff that doesn't need to be done.

If a solicitor costs £350 an hour does that mean they're going to do a better job
No, certainly not, you need to shop around.  Now, given that your husband has just announced that he has been having an affair for over a year with an office colleague and is leaving you for her, making informed and rational decisions about family solicitors is not an easy task.

We can refer you to some excellent local solicitors which is a good start.  Also a get a recommendation from a friend who have had a good experience with a local solicitor.  If it's a big practice then it's wise to make sure you use the individual who has been recommended as the quality of solicitors like plumbers can vary widely despite working for the same outfit.

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