Divorce is likely to be one of the most challenging experiences of your life and one of the most expensive. One of the most commonly cited challenges is the high cost of legal representation. Most divorce attorneys charge for their services by the hour, so the more time they spend working on your case, the more expensive it will be.

If you plan to end your marriage in Springfield, IL, soon, it’s natural to want to know of any ways that you can potentially save money on the costs of legal representation. The right attorney can be an invaluable asset in your divorce proceedings, so do not deprive yourself of the advantage of legal counsel by thinking you’re saving money on legal fees by handling your own representation. A good attorney will be clear and transparent about their billing policy, so you know what to expect in terms of the cost of your legal representation. However, it is also valuable to know a few basic tips to help you save money on your legal fees.

Work Collaboratively With Your Spouse Before Filing for Divorce

The divorce process formally begins once you or your spouse files a divorce petition with the Springfield, IL, family court. However, the process informally begins once you and your spouse decide to end your marriage or when one of you has made it clear you no longer wish to remain married. This can be a challenging time for both of you, but it’s worth taking the time to collaborate as much as possible on the terms of your divorce.

If you can do so, sit down together and negotiate divorce terms on your own. Transparency and honesty can go a long way toward helping the two of you reach a mutually agreeable set of terms. However, keep in mind that you cannot reach any firm decisions on your own. The benefit of taking time to collaborate and develop the framework of your divorce is that you will be able to present this foundation to your respective attorneys. Your attorneys will then be able to refine these divorce terms and help you reach a divorce agreement that faithfully reflects both of your goals and wishes. This can significantly cut the time required to complete the divorce.

Take Advantage of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Many divorcing couples in the Springfield, IL, area have turned to alternative dispute resolution to save time and money on their divorce cases. In particular, divorce mediation has become the most popular way to handle divorce due to the confidentiality, control, and savings the process offers to both divorcing spouses.

The only absolute prerequisite for divorce mediation is that you and your spouse must both be open to exploring the process. If either of you is unwilling to negotiate, mediation will not work. However, even if things are tense between the two of you, it is still possible to take advantage of mediation when you feel that it’s impossible to have a civil discussion with one another. Your respective attorneys can essentially function as your proxies, relaying your communications back and forth in coordination with the mediator until you have a finalized draft of your divorce resolution.

Settle as Much as Possible Before Moving to Litigation

Ultimately, the most expensive aspect of divorce is litigation. Court proceedings are lengthy and ridden with procedures that consume quite a bit of time, even for a seemingly straightforward divorce. If you and your spouse choose divorce mediation, the two of you will still need to appear in court for a final hearing where the judge must review and approve your divorce resolution. If you have children, litigation is unavoidable because the Illinois family court system must ensure your custody arrangement suits your children’s best interests.

One of the best ways to trim the overall cost of your divorce is to minimize the time you spend in litigation. Unfortunately, some divorcing spouses will seek to push their cases to trial out of spite, only to later realize it cost them just as much if not more than it cost their spouse. Instead, try to be as cooperative as possible with your ex in developing the framework of your divorce and take full advantage of mediation. This ensures that your divorce will only require a fraction of the time it would take if you were to proceed directly to litigation.

Choose a Reliable Springfield, IL, Divorce Attorney

If you are attempting to save as much money as possible with your divorce, you may find it hard to accept that you will need to hire an attorney to represent you. Attempting to navigate your divorce case on your own without legal counsel may seem like an excellent way to save money, but this choice entails several significant risks. First, you may overlook crucial details of your divorce case that lead to you accepting a less-than-favorable set of divorce terms. You could also make procedural errors that extend the time required to complete the divorce process successfully. There is also a risk that your divorce order may seem fine at first, only for you to later discover issues that require you to return to family court for modification proceedings.

Choosing the right attorney to represent you in divorce is one of the best ways to streamline the overall experience. While you will need to pay legal fees, the amount you pay will likely be much less than you stand to lose if you attempt to handle it alone. Additionally, your legal team will remove a great deal of the frustration and stress the divorce process usually involves.

A good Springfield, IL, divorce attorney will be transparent and detailed in explaining their billing policy. You can research your local options for legal counsel or ask friends and family for their recommendations if any of them recently had positive experiences with divorce attorneys in the Springfield, IL, area. Ultimately, do not agree to any attorney’s representation unless you are sure they can provide the level of legal counsel you expect at a fair rate. Contact a reliable and experienced Springfield, IL, divorce attorney today if you have any reservations about the potential cost of finalizing your divorce.