Managing Your Legal Costs
Most people are concerned with managing and minimizing the legal costs associated with their divorce or other family law matter. As a client and legal consumer, you will directly affect the attorney’s fees involved in your case. Your actions and inactions will impact the amount of time required to complete your case, regardless of the size of your marital estate.
At Minyard Morris, our 16 divorce attorneys have over 200 years of combined family law experience, and with that experience, we have learned many ways in which our clients can contribute to an efficient resolution of their cases.
Pointers For Minimizing Attorney’s Fees And Costs
The following actions may minimize your attorney’s fees and lessen the time required to complete your case by many months:
- Carefully determine your objectives and goals early in the case and try to avoid changing them;
- Set realistic expectations;
- Don’t fight issues as a matter of “principle”;
- Compromise when appropriate;
- View decisions about financial matters as “business decisions,” rather than emotional ones;
- Retain an attorney who you respect professionally and who shares your general philosophy regarding your divorce and its resolution;
- Cooperate with your divorce lawyer and provide the requested documents and information quickly and honestly;
- Follow your divorce lawyer’s advice or consider finding a different lawyer;
- Require a cost-benefit analysis of fighting each issue from your attorney. Is it worth the fight? How much will it cost to “fight the fight?” What are the odds of winning? What does a win look like?
Communicate openly, honestly and proactively with your attorney regarding your case. Your communication is confidential, and your attorney can address an issue much more efficiently if they are made aware of the issue and all of the facts from the outset.
A Court May Require One Party To Pay The Attorney’s Fees Of The Other Party
In an effort to level the litigation playing field, a family law court may order one party to pay all or a portion of the other party’s attorney’s fees, expert fees and costs. The court may ask if the fees incurred were reasonably necessary in the handling of the case. In order to make a fee award, a court must find a number of things, including the following:
- One party has a need
- The other party has the ability to contribute
- There is a source from which the fees may be paid
- The fees were reasonably incurred
The court may award fees at the temporary stage of the litigation, after the trial, and at the appellate stage. We also know how and when to pursue payment of our client’s attorney’s fees from the other party. The court may make a fee award against a party to the divorce, a joined third party or a joined entity. The court may also deny an award of fees for several reasons including there being no need for a contribution, the fees were excessive, bad faith conduct or conduct that was intended to delay resolution of the case.
Settlement Is Often The Best Option
At Minyard Morris, we know that whenever possible, a case should be settled instead of litigated. With decades of experience and a team of 16 collaborative divorce and family law attorneys, we understand how to make this happen. When circumstances warrant it, we use mediation to help expedite the resolution of a case.
Unfortunately, there are cases where one spouse is determined to “have their day in court.” When one party refuses to cooperate and insists on a trial, then a settlement is no longer a viable option. In those cases, the only way to get a resolution is to ask for a trial date. The most expedient path to resolution is to avoid delays, set realistic expectations and demands, and be willing to participate in good-faith negotiations.
A Team Of Skilled Divorce Attorneys On Your Side
When you are ready to schedule your initial conference, call our Newport Beach office at 949-652-2770 or connect with us online. A member of our staff will assist you. You can prepare for your appointment in order to maximize the efficiency of the consultation and minimize the cost.