Deciding to get a divorce can be an intimidating thing to do for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest concerns people have is the cost. In fact, a study by one legal forum revealed that the cost of divorce was the number one concern for a lot of people. Fortunately, there are a lot of things people can do in order to keep the cost of their divorce down. Having a good understanding of how an attorneys legal fees work is one of the most important things a client can do to keep costs low, but there are also other ways that clients can work efficiently.
Understanding Legal Fees
Legal work can have a complex fee structure, but there are ethical rules that push lawyers to make sure that their fees are clear. Consequently, an upfront conversation about how the lawyer charges can go a long way. Ordinarily, a divorce lawyers fee will be broken down into a retainer and an hourly rate, although some lawyers use only one or the other.
A retainer is an upfront cost that some attorneys charge customers. The amount an attorney charges as a retainer can vary greatly and may depend upon a lot of different factors, so shopping around can yield dividends. It is also important to understand whether a retainer is refundable, and whether the attorney will credit the retainer towards their hourly rate.
The hourly rate is the other option many attorneys use. The attorney keeps careful track of how much time he or she spends working on the case, and will bill based on that time. It is especially important to understand an attorneys hourly rate if he or she does not charge a retainer because that may mean that the attorney plans on making up that cost with a higher hourly charge.
Additionally, clients should learn about what other things the attorney may charge for. Some attorneys charge for travel time, others for office work or supplies. Knowing exactly what the money is being spent on can help it be used more efficiently.
Tips for Keeping Costs Low
Beyond understanding a lawyers fee structure, there are other things clients can do to keep divorce costs low. One of the best things to do is to be organized. Coming to a meeting with the necessary documents and questions prepared in advance can make the meeting go faster, which will keep the amount of time the lawyer spends on the case, and the ultimate fee, down. Similarly, clients should understand the lawyers purpose. Lawyers are there to provide legal help. While venting is an important part of dealing with a divorce and the best attorneys are sensitive to the emotional nature of the case, lawyers make expensive therapists. Keeping on task when dealing with an attorney means keeping down the final bill.
Costs are just one practical element of going through a divorce. If you have questions about them or other realities of the process, contact an experienced Naperville divorce attorney today.