Many of my clients wonder how their fees get so high. I explain to them that we can only control the actions that we initiate but there are many aspects of our representation that are beyond our control in family law cases. We frequently face unforeseen postponements of hearings, depositions, and trials. Sometimes the opposing attorney is not cooperative. We may need to conduct business valuations and or mental health examinations that are performed by outside experts, billing at rates we have no say over. If you find yourself in one of these situations there isn’t much you can do; however, there are things a client can do to help keep the costs of fees down.
Being cooperative is not a sign of weakness. Fighting all the time, whether you’re “in the right” or not, only increases costs. Is it worth spending hundreds of dollars to fight over the fact that your spouse delivered the child 15 minutes late? Is it worth spending money arguing because your spouse didn’t return a sweatshirt that you purchased? Consider the cost to argue about the fact that your spouse wants to pick up the children 30 minutes early for a special event. Is it worth fighting about whether a $100 platter is yours or hers? That $100 platter may wind up costing much more for two lawyers to fight over it. Think about those items in your house that you absolutely can’t live without- those are the items worth a fight. Don’t fight over personal property just because you are angry. Don’t fight over personal property just because the other person walked out. Save your fights for what matters most to you, and use the money you save in fees to buy new items for the new chapter of your life.