It goes without saying that the divorce process can be expensive, and average divorce case costs may range from $15,000 to $20,000. This includes legal fees for a divorce lawyer and separate litigation costs. If you are contemplating or are in the midst of a California divorce, it is essential that you have experienced legal representation. Here are some steps that you can take yourself to significantly reduce the costs and expenses associated with a divorce case.
Find Common Ground and Reach Agreements on Disputed Marital Issues
In a divorce cases, parties are never going to agree on everything, and there is no such thing as a perfect divorce settlement. However, if you and your spouse are able to work together and calmly resolve disputed issues, such as alimony and child custody disputes, the divorce process will become more streamline and will move along that much faster. It is also important to be honest and above-board when it comes to reporting all income, property, and assets. Failing to be honest and accurate will only delay the divorce process.
Follow Legal Advice from Your Attorney Only
If you are just beginning the divorce process, you are likely to be bombarded with information from various sources — some of which may be unreliable. It is important to note that every couple is different and that individual circumstances differ as well. You should follow your attorney's advice over any advice you receive from friends, neighbors, co-workers, or online. Therefore, make sure to do the following:
- Answer all of your attorney's questions and address all concerns.
- Provide all follow-up documentation that your attorney requests.
You may also be able to save yourself some money by making your own copies and keeping track of hearing dates and court orders.
Close All Joint Credit Accounts
In order to avoid having to pay for some share of your spouse's marital debt, when you believe that divorce proceedings are imminent, you should immediately close all credit accounts held in both your name and your spouse's name.
Show Up for Your Court Date(s)
As part of any divorce case, both parties to the case will most likely have to appear in court at least once. Therefore, you should plan on arriving at the courthouse approximately 30 minutes early on the date of your hearing or trial. If you miss a court date (and, in some cases, if you arrive late to court), the court date will need to be rescheduled, potentially adding months to the divorce proceedings and significantly increasing the costs.
Abide by the Terms of Marital Settlement Agreements
When the parties have minor children, issues such as child custody, visitation, and child support often crop up. If you are able to agree with your spouse on some or all of these issues, your attorney will prepare a joint marital settlement agreement which must be signed by both of the parties, as well as by a judge of the court. This marital settlement agreement is incorporated into any divorce decree which the court later signs. If you fail to abide by the terms of the agreement, there is a chance that you may be held in contempt of court, resulting in payment of attorney’s fees and other court costs. These agreements can sometimes be modified based upon a material charge in circumstances.
Contact Experienced Fresno Divorce Lawyers Today to Discuss Your Case
The Fresno divorce lawyers at Rick Banks Law can assist you with your case. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to help you draft a marital settlement agreement and can represent you in court, if necessary. Contact the attorneys at Rick Banks Law by calling (559)222-4891