According to Forbes, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. With little to no money in the bank, most Americans cannot afford to hire a divorce attorney. Legal consumers have taken out loans to cover attorney fees only to find themselves worse off financially after their divorce has settled. Absorbent attorney fees continue to keep the reach of justice out of the hands of the working middle class. Read my tips on avoiding high divorce attorney fees before you hire an attorney to represent you.
Tip No 1. Don’t hire a divorce attorney.
My top tip on avoiding high divorce attorney fees is to not hire a divorce attorney. As a San Diego family law attorney, I highly encourage you to resolve your divorce outside of court. Take the high road and try to come to a mutual agreement with the opposing party on any issue in dispute. Attend mediation if possible. Doing so will save you time and money!
Consider hiring a divorce attorney only if you are unable to resolve your divorce issues. You don’t want to spend $15,000 in attorney fees to save $5,000 in spousal support. Analyze your case closely to determine if it is more feasible to settle your divorce issues without paying for an attorney. You can hire an attorney in a limited capacity to represent you in preparation of trial.
Though most attorneys like to handle a divorce from start to finish, there are attorneys throughout the US who provide consulting services to self-represented litigants.
Tip No 2. Work with a legal document preparer.
Much of a divorce involves filling out legal documents. Most people pay high attorney fees only to find out the work was passed on to a paralegal or law clerk. You can work with a legal document preparer to reduce costs. Experienced legal document preparers know which forms to file and may provide divorce case management services.
Be careful working with online legal document companies. Make sure the forms you use conform to your local court rules. Most of the forms can be downloaded for free from the court’s website. Avoid paying fees for an online legal document company that will not review your divorce forms.
Tip No 3. Visit your local family law facilitator office.
Most superior courts provide family law facilitator services. The facilitator will provide you with court forms to complete to file for divorce. The facilitator will review your forms to make sure they are correct. The major downside of using a local family law facilitator is that you may have to wait in long lines. Research non-profit divorce clinics to avoid expensive divorce attorney fees. Many non-profit divorce clinics provide quality divorce legal services.
Tip No 4. Only hire an attorney if you absolutely need to.
You may be wondering why as a divorce attorney I wrote an article discouraging people to avoid hiring expensive divorce attorneys. I personally don’t like seeing divorce attorneys take advantage of people in vulnerable situations. Most people who are going through a divorce are often emotionally drained and may not exercise good judgment when retaining an attorney. Some people think that expensive attorney fees guarantee quality legal service.
While attorneys do deserve a fair pay for a day’s work, people also deserve quality legal service at an affordable price. I hope my tips on avoiding high divorce attorney fees helps you find a quality legal service provider.
Check out our divorce questions and answers. Ask a divorce question.