Divorce is likely to be one of the most emotionally challenging, stressful, and expensive experiences of your life. Therefore, it’s natural to have reservations about the cost of legal representation if you are considering hiring a Metro East, IL, divorce attorney to represent you and to feel daunted by the overall financial impact of your divorce. However, it’s crucial to be realistic about what to expect in divorce and to know how you can streamline this experience, saving you time, money, and frustration during an objectively life-changing situation.

Collaborate With Your Spouse

One of the best ways to trim the cost of your legal fees for divorce is for you and your spouse to develop the framework of your divorce agreement on your own before filing a formal petition or hiring legal representation. While you should not expect the agreements you make to be final in any way, creating a drafted divorce agreement will help your respective attorneys understand your goals and needs more clearly. Essentially, your attorney will not need to help you build your case from the ground up and will help you refine your divorce agreement, resulting in less time they need to spend managing the process.

If you and your spouse are agreeable enough toward one another to sit down and negotiate divorce terms on your own, you can present your respective attorneys with your drafted divorce agreement and work from it, streamlining the overall process. Of course, depending on the level of emotional tension between you and your spouse, you may only be able to collaborate on a few issues. However, no matter how much or how little the two of you are willing to discuss, any headway made before taking formal steps toward divorce can translate into savings on your legal fees and the time investment for your divorce process.

Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution

Many people imagine divorce as a heated court battle, but litigation is not the only way to settle a divorce. In Metro East, IL, and throughout the US, divorcing couples are taking advantage of divorce mediation to settle their cases more quickly, privately, and with less overall cost when it comes to their legal fees. The mediation process is relatively straightforward: you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will meet privately with a neutral mediator tasked with helping you and your spouse finalize your divorce agreement.

There are many advantages to mediation. First, many couples choose this option for handling their divorces because it affords them privacy. When you litigate divorce in family court, everything said during every courtroom appearance enters the public record. This means that virtually anyone can look up transcripts of your court case if they choose to do so. Since divorce proceedings often entail discussion of sensitive personal topics, the privacy afforded by mediation alone is enough to compel many divorcing couples to choose this form of alternative dispute resolution.

Mediation is also faster and less expensive than divorce. While litigation has the potential to drag on for months or even longer than a year, you and your spouse can potentially complete mediation within a few weeks or a month or two. This translates to dramatically lower legal fees for both of you. In addition, each mediation session will focus on an aspect of your divorce, allowing the two of you to move line by line through all the issues your case entails. Ultimately, the two of you can reach a much more individualized resolution than a court battle would allow and do it at a fraction of the time investment and financial cost of litigation.

Settle as Much as Possible in Alternative Dispute Resolution Before Going to Court

In many cases, the divorcing spouses can agree to some, but not all, of the issues their divorces entail. However, just because you cannot settle everything in alternative dispute resolution does not mean you should not take advantage of it. You and your spouse can settle many of the issues related to your divorce in mediation before transitioning to litigation to handle the remaining issues. In some divorces, this is unavoidable. For example, you cannot settle child custody or child support in mediation. Instead, you and your spouse can draft a proposed parenting plan, but a Metro East, IL, family court judge must review and approve this proposal to ensure it suits the best interests of your children.

If some measure of divorce litigation is unavoidable, it is worth settling as much as you can in alternative dispute resolution before moving to courtroom proceedings. Even if you and your spouse cannot have a civil negotiation face to face due to the emotional issues behind your divorce, your respective attorneys can act as your proxies in mediation and relay your negotiations between one another. Take full advantage of mediation before you move to litigation to settle the rest of your divorce issues if you want to reduce your legal fees as much as possible.

Choose the Right Metro East, IL, Divorce Lawyer

One of the most important decisions you can make when streamlining your divorce and saving money on legal fees is hiring the right attorney. Before agreeing to any attorney’s representation, make sure you fully understand their billing policies and how they will handle your case. Most divorce attorneys will bill their services by the hour, so the more time they spend working on your case, the more expensive their representation will be.

Ask friends, family, and coworkers for their recommendations for divorce lawyers if they have recently undergone divorce proceedings in the Metro East, IL, area. Take advantage of free consultation offers from local attorneys so you can get a better idea of how they will handle your case and the value they offer.

Ultimately, the best way to streamline and save money on your divorce is choosing the right attorney to represent you. A reliable Metro East, IL, divorce lawyer will carefully review your case and help you make more informed decisions about your legal options. In addition, they will be clear and detailed in their explanation of their billing policy and help you understand all your options for handling the divorce. Contact an experienced Metro East, IL, divorce attorney as soon as possible once you have decided to end your marriage to reduce the financial impact of ending your marriage.