Keeping Your Divorce Attorney’s Fees Down

By July 26, 2012Divorce
Did you ever receive your bill from your attorney and wonder how you spent thousands of dollars one month without “getting anything done.” The reason for this could be threefold.
One, your spouse is arguing over everything, including the weather, and you need to respond.   Two, you are arguing over everything and you expect your lawyer to make your spouse suffer like you have.   Is it worth 2 hours of your lawyer’s time to prevent your spouse from taking his golf clubs from the marital home, just because he did something you didn’t like?  We could probably agree that your spouse is a jerk, that he wasted money on his girlfriend and did a lot of other hateful, emotionally abusive things to you.  So, justifiably, when he says he calls and says he is coming over to get his golf clubs you tell him no.  Then the phone calls begin.  The fees grow.  The marital pot is reduced.   Is this worth it?  Are you going to use the golf clubs?   When you are trying to resolve the division of personal property is it worth it to spend one thousand dollars between attorneys fighting over a couch that cost $500.

Three, you have hired an attorney who will fight over everything just because he or she can.  But does the end justify the means?  Judges don’t like to see clients fighting over little things.  Why allow your lawyer to create a bais against you with the judge by fighting over things that just don’t matter?   Judges don’t want to award attorneys’ fees to a lawyer who fights for the sake of fighting.  One judge recently said to a lawyer: “If you want to fight about that then let your client pay for it.”  The court has total discretion in the awarding of fees.  Do you want to be the spouse who gets left with the payment of fees because your lawyer took an unreasonable approach?

Ask your lawyer why he or she is taking certain steps and why he or she is filing certain motions.  If the lawyer cannot convince you of the practical benefit, suggest he or she abandon that step.  Resolving issues that occur during the course of the case does not mean your lawyer is not tough and or is caving in to the other side.  It means that your lawyer is responsibly choosing how to litigate your case.

Keep your eye on the result.    Hire an attorney who is tough but also reasonable.

Disclaimer

By: Alisse C. Camazine

Alisse C. Camazine

Alisse C. Camazine

In her over 30 years of practice, Alisse Camazine has become one of the leading family law practitioners in the St. Louis area, focusing on child custody and complex divorce and property litigation. She has been listed in Naifeh and Smith’s, The Best Lawyers in America, for Family Law, since 1993.
Alisse C. Camazine

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