One of the biggest complaints about going through a separation and dividing assets and making arrangements for children is the amount of legal fees parties might incur in the process. Nobody wants to spend an enormous amount of money on lawyers, something we here at Southern Waters Legal know and understand.
We often find that the higher a person’s fees get, the higher the personal stress that is experienced. Both are things that people should aim to avoid where possible, and below we list some things you can do to minimise both increasing legal fees and personal stress, in no particular order:
At the first meeting, your lawyer will ask you a series of questions and those questions will include trying to obtain a comprehensive list of the assets, liabilities and superannuation held by you and your partner both jointly and individually along with the estimated value of those things. If you come prepared with a complete list this can really reduce the amount of time the lawyer needs to spend asking you these questions. Bonus points if you bring supporting documents (market appraisals, super statements, bank account balances etc)!
Throughout your matter you will undoubtedly have questions. This is normal and expected however, if you make a list of those questions it can make meetings or telephone calls shorter. If possible, you should also try to have a list of questions together for telephone calls and emails rather than calling or emailing each time you have a question.
Be honest from the beginning
Sometimes in a family law matter, embarrassing things or incidents you may not necessarily be proud of may pop up. It is much better to be upfront and honest about all of those things when asked by your lawyer because if your instructions change throughout the matter this can lead to increased correspondence, which increases your costs, and it can lead to a negative inference being drawn about your character.
Be prepared to compromise
The unfortunate reality of going through a separation is that your joint wealth will be divided between you in some respect. This will result in both of you needing to make concessions, viewing the matter commercially and not using the process as a means to try and ‘hold someone accountable’ or ‘make them pay’. The Family Court is not there to prove anyone right or wrong and to try and to do so will almost certainly result in you punishing your own wallet. It is always important to keep the bigger picture in mind, reaching a resolution at the earliest opportunity.
Provide full and frank disclosure when asked
Throughout your matter you are likely going to be asked to provide information and documents on a regular basis. Disclosure can often be one of the more costly exercises in a matter because parties do not provide everything that is requested of them and it results in requests going back and forth between clients and offices. If you can be organised and take the time to provide each document requested of you each time a request is made it can really assist in cutting down your costs.
At Southern Waters Legal we are always looking to minimise our client’s costs. The above are just some tips we have learned along the way to assist you to try and minimise your costs.
If you need quality legal advice, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced team members on (02) 9523 5535.