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Keeping divorce costs in check

While some Texas couples are able to keep the costs of their divorces relatively low, others commit common errors that can result in substantial legal fees that they otherwise would not have incurred. In many cases, people whose fees balloon often do so primarily because they are giving in to the raw emotions brought forth by the divorce.

The most common mistakes people make during their divorces are in some instances easily correctable. People should first remember that their attorneys will likely be billing by the hour, so the more phone calls and meetings, the higher the charges will be. A common problem people have is acting as if their attorney is also their therapist. While the divorce attorney is certainly there to advocate on behalf of their clients, calling them and asking for help to settle very minor problems only serves to increase the amount owed.

People also tend to make the mistake of fighting over very small issues, such as who will be responsible for picking up a child from sports practice or other minor child custody and parenting time matters. The more people litigate about minor differences, the more court appearances and motions are required, again resulting in higher fees. Finally, people may try to hide assets or be dishonest about income, resulting in the need for financial experts and other costly witnesses.

Although the emotions during a marital dissolution may naturally run high, people may still be able to reach an agreement with their spouses regarding most issues, reserving any needed litigation for the more important matters. People are sometimes able to reach full agreements through careful and strategic negotiation. It is usually advisable to obtain the advice and counsel of a family law attorney with respect to these matters.

Source: CNBC, "How to get divorced without breaking the bank", Susan Caminiti, Feb. 9, 2015

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