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Five Ways to Minimise Your Legal Costs

Aug 14, 2017

Carr & Co

Separation and divorce can be expensive, but there are ways that you minimise the costs. Given the general rule in Family Court proceedings is that each party pays their own costs, it is important to consider how you can minimise your costs and make sure there is more left to divide.

Be organised

During Family Court proceedings your lawyer will no doubt ask you for documents, current documents, historical documents, lots of documents. When collating these documents for your lawyer, it will help reduce your bill if you organise them first. Group them into categories. Put them in date order. If you’re super organised, put them in a lever arch file. If you need to retain the originals, make the copies yourself. This is all work you can reasonably do that your lawyer doesn’t have to and which you wont be charged for.

Don’t make emotional decisions

Sometimes it’s hard to not let your emotions cloud your decision making in Family Court proceedings. However, this can be expensive. Refusing to agree to reasonable proposals can lengthen proceedings or, you might find the Court decides to award the other party their costs. Alternatively, if you don’t agree to sell something at a particular time, you might find its value drops considerably and this can be to your disadvantage.

Avoid using emails as a stream of consciousness

If you have a question or an issue you want to discuss with your lawyer, the best approach is to properly consider the matter and either make an appointment to see them or telephone them. Or in the alternative, send them an email.

What you should avoid is sending them one email, then thinking of something further and sending another email and another email until you have sent 10 emails in the space of half an hour. Giving proper consideration to your queries and sending them in one longer email is a better use of your lawyer’s time and your money.

Don’t use your lawyer as your therapist

Separation is a very emotional time for parties. Given your lawyer knows the ins and outs of your situation it can be tempting to seek advice or guidance from them which isn’t legal advice. The problem with this approach is firstly, your family lawyer isn’t qualified to provide any form of therapy or counselling. Secondly, lawyers charge according to time and seeking therapeutic or non legal advice from them can be expensive. Your money is better spent on getting assistance from a qualified therapist, counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist.

Use a family law specialist

It’s not only family lawyers who conduct Family Court proceedings. Often solicitors who typically practice in other jurisdictions or who are part of a general practice firm, appear in the Family Court. Family law is a specialised area of practice. It’s also an area of law that continues to evolve with society. Having a lawyer who specialises in family law generally means they are more up to date with the current state of play and means they can spend less time on certain issues, because they are issues they deal with every day. The less time taken on matters (where appropriate) means your costs are kept to a minimum.

Make sure you have the right advice. Contact Carr & Co on 9322 8000 or email us at contactus@carrco.com.au