In many cases when a client pays with a credit card it just a matter of convenience or adding to their "miles". However, in some cases, it is because they have no other option. Going into debt to pay for your divorce attorney's costs should be done very cautiously. While we believe that an attorney can provide a great benefit to parties in a divorce case, that benefit must be balanced against the cost of those services. You don't want to end up figuratively paying for your divorce because you didn't get advice, or got bad advice, but you also don't want to literally being paying for your divorce for years if you can avoid it. Here are some basic tips to avoid going into debt for your divorce:
Try to Keep Costs Down
You can assist your attorney in many ways, for instance by providing them timely with documents and information they request. The better and more efficiently you communicate with your attorney, the lower your overall bill will be.
Make Business Decisions
While some decisions in a divorce are not financial, such as deciding on a parenting plan, most of the decisions that must be made do relate to your assets, debts, expenses and income. Be conscientious of the fact that every dollar you spend on your attorney is one less dollar left in your marital estate. If you can limit the issues in your case to less than you will spend on your attorneys to fight, then you should be able to settle quickly. We call this making a "business decision" rather than an emotional one because in business we often must make choices that are not perfect but make financial sense.
Even in cases that involve non-financial issues, there may be cheaper more efficient ways to reach a settlement, such as using a parent coordinator or mediator to settle a parenting plan rather than taking your custody fight to trial.
Make a Plan for the Future
Finally, one of the most powerful ways to get over the emotion of a divorce and reduce the cost is to think about what you want your life to look like 1, 2 or 5 years from now. Making a plan for the future, will help you decide on the best settlement of your case, and will require you to consider how the cost of your divorce will affect that plan.
Credit Cards can be a tool to help you move on with your life, but stay mindful of how you use them and make sure that the costs you are agreeing to pay fit into your budget.
At Kelsey & Trask, P.C. we do accept credit card payments with one exception (debtors in a bankruptcy case cannot pay for our fees by using their credit card).