by Attorney Amy Saunders
Everyone considering or filing for a Divorce should consider these points. These are all based on real experiences with my clients — which are being passed along to you to save significant time and money.
1. Do NOT Fight Over the Flat Screen TV. This is a common argument, whether it is a Flat Screen TV or any other “thing” (like a carseat or pans–sad but true). You really need to be focusing on Retirement Accounts and other matters that will really make a difference. I always advise my clients to ask this question about items like TVs, Computers and the lot — “Will it matter to you in 5 years? Will the item be antiquated?” Keep in mind that the time a lawyer spends arguing the item may actually cost more than the item itself. Save yourself the time and hassle – and just go buy a new one when your start the next chapter of your life.
2. Do NOT Rush Into An Agreement. If you rush into an agreement and it needs to be modified later – it will cost far more money in legal fees later than during the divorce process (if it can be modified at all). Take your time. Make sure you are comfortable and it is the right decision for your long-term goals.
3. Do NOT Hire the Wrong Divorce Attorney. We often receive cases transferred from other attorneys — and are able to resolve the matters for a fraction of the cost and time. If your lawyer is more concerned about retainers, and continues to delay the case and request additional retainers without results – you may have cause for concern. Finding the right lawyer is difficult. Be sure to speak with several lawyers and ask them key questions before you choose your representation. Click here to read our other article on some key questions to ask your lawyer. It may help.
4. Do NOT Let Your Emotions Affect Your Legal Decisions. Emotion and Law is a destructive combination. If vengeance and pride are integrated into the process, you may end up in the poor house. Keep the two separate, and focus on your legal rights and how to exercise them to reach your long-term goals.
5. Do NOT Skimp on Appraisals and Valuations. This is a common area where thousands of dollars can be lost. Make sure you work with your attorney to secure field experts to value retirement accounts, real estate, and all other marital assets. This is not the place to cut corners and save money.
6. Do NOT Forget To Collect Documents for your Lawyer. This is probably the easiest money saver. If you do not collect all of the required documents PRIOR to the divorce, you may have to enlist your lawyer to subpoena the documents from your spouse, and this costs money. If you feel you are about to enter a divorce, start collecting all of the required documents and keep them at a friend or family members house. Click here and refer to the document list in Item #1, and start with gathering those documents.
7. Do NOT Drag Your Feet. I would estimate about 20% of my clients “drag their feet” and upwards of 100% regret it. Keep in mind that all assets and debts will be divided on the date of the divorce. So, if you wait years as a separated couple – you may be saving more monies and assets on your plate–thus, giving your spouse more to fight over.
8. Do NOT Forget to Remove Additional Cardholders on Credit Cards. This is where 5 minutes can save you thousands of dollars in debt, and lawyer fees. If you are the primary cardholder, remove your spouse to avoid charges that are NOT mutually agreed upon, before “letting the cat out of the bag.”.
9. Seek Support from Family, Friends and/or a Therapist. Divorce is a difficult process, I know first hand with my divorce. You will need a support network. This will help keep your emotions in check and out of the courtroom and divorce decisions. The last thing you want is thousands of dollars in legal fees for emotional support.
10. Do NOT Play Financial Games. Do not try to hide financial assets. Do not quit your job. Make a goal and stay focused. The judge has heard it all — and will see right through any games — and it will only cost you more money in legal fees in the long run.
Attorney Amy Saunders, Esq.
Law Office of Hanson & Saunders
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