Top 10 tips to reduce your legal costs

25-May-2015 Family Law By Simone Green

Engaging a lawyer to help you with your family law matter is a big step and depending on the circumstances, can be very expensive. There are many things
that you can do, however, to minimise your costs along the way. Below is a list of things that you can do prior to your first meeting with your
solicitor to significantly reduce the time and legal costs associated with your case:

  1. Prepare your financial records and bring along a balance sheet of your assets and liabilities., with recent bank, loan and credit card statements for all accounts held by you or jointly with another person. Also bring along the Memorandum and Trust Deeds for any companies or trusts and obtain a market appraisal for any real estate owned by you.
  2. Prepare a short history of the various financial contributions during the relationship. For example, what did you each own prior to cohabitation and were there any lump sum payments along the way, such as inheritances, work bonuses or redundancies?
  3. Prepare a short history of the various non-financial contributions of both parties, such as who performed household tasks, cared for any children, performed renovations or repairs to the home.
  4. Where children are involved, bring copies of all relevant documentation to your first meeting, for example, the children’s birth certificates, any parenting plans, a summary of the current parenting arrangements, a section 60I Certificate if you have one.
  5. Prepare a dot point list of questions you would like answered in your initial meeting and email this to your solicitor in advance if possible.
  6. Use email to communicate with your solicitor rather than the telephone. Email is the best way to provide your instructions as the matter unfolds as it is much quicker for your solicitor to read a brief email than to discuss the matter over the phone. Try to minimise the number of times you call your solicitor, but when calling, speak first with your solicitor’s personal assistant who may be able to answer any simple administrative questions or provide you with any updates in your matter.
  7. Face to Face conferences: When the occasion calls for a longer discussion, telephone your solicitor’s secretary/personal assistant to make a face-to-face appointment. You will probably achieve more in a meeting than in a half hour telephone call.
  8. Read all correspondence that you receive. When your solicitor writes to you to confirm your instructions, it often means the ball is in your court and the matter cannot progress until you say so. Reply promptly where possible.
  9. Provide documents in electronic format. It is easier for the solicitor, and cheaper for you, if you provide a USB with all of the relevant documents or you may provide photocopies in order to save on copying costs.
  10. Pay as you go. Receiving a regular monthly bill from your solicitor is the best way for you to keep track of your legal costs and keep them under wraps. Your solicitor should advise you of expected fees at each new stage of the process.

For further information or advice, please contact the Family Law experts at Streeterlaw on 8197 0105 or email advice@streeterlaw.com.au.

 

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