||Avoid the "go
for the jugular attorneys." They spend too much time racking up fees
in heavy litigation which may have been avoided if reason and calm
had prevailed. For a list of attorneys who have taken the Creed of
Professionalism which includes an effort to avoid unnecessary litigation
see Attorneys List
||Know what the
facts are on both sides. It is unlikely that you or your spouse will
want to settle when there are factual questions left unanswered. Settlement
under these circumstances would also be ill advised. The longer you
leave factual questions unanswered the longer it will probably take
to settle and the more attorneys fees you incur.
||Be mutually cooperative
in the fact finding (discovery) process. In the absence of cooperation
attorneys have to send out subpoenas and formal requests and demands
and may even have to get the court involved. Expensive!
the laws are, not what you would like them to be, unless you want
to go all the way up to the Supreme Court with a new theory. It had
better be a very good theory otherwise you have wasted a lot of money.
Most people just want to get through their divorces and not make new
||Use your attorney
effectively and creatively. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney
to take charge of your case in its entirety, consider working with
an attorney behind the scenes. You do all the running around. You
represent yourself as a 'pro se'. This way the attorney does not have
to spend time (your dollars) dealing with the courts and the other
attorney or the other pro se. You pay for the advice (and probably
getting your attorney to draft the court documents) and off you go.
It can be very cost effective.
TIP: If you are
having difficulty negotiating with the attorney for the other side,
it may be better for you to hire your attorney to negotiate for you.
Experienced attorneys are generally good at negotiation; they know
the law and can quickly go back and forward in a settlement conversation.
If the other side is a pro se, i.e. not an attorney, negotiation may
be difficult whether or not you have an attorney to negotiate for
you. In that case you may want to consider early mediation by a qualified
mediator who can be your go between.
Mediation: Mediation can be a great way to save money in divorce proceedings.
This can involve pro ses, the couple without attorneys, or couples
with their attorneys. A good mediator will gently push people to settlement.
Having an attorney with you can make the process go faster as your
attorney is immediately available to advise. This saves time.
||Get ready to
compromise. It is unlikely that you will get everything that you want
in a divorce settlement unless the other side is really off base and
you are extraordinarily reasonable. Therefore, consider what is least
important to you and what may be important to your spouse and be ready
to use this to bargain. See the article on Negotiation
for tips on how to reach a win-win solution.