One of the biggest worries people have when considering ending their marriages is the effect it will have on their finances. Divorce can be expensive, but it is possible to ensure it doesn’t cost the proverbial arm and a leg. Washington residents who are preparing to work through the divorce process can protect their finances by knowing what they are getting themselves into with a few simple questions.
What is the retainer fee and is it refundable?
Generally speaking, legal counsel requires clients to pay a retainer fee. This is money they use to begin working on their cases. Hopefully, the retainer fee will end up covering all fees and expenses. If the retainer fee ends up being more than what the attorney can bill for, the remainder not used may be refundable.
What are considered billable services?
Any time an attorney spends on a case is considered billable time. A few examples include:
- Attending court hearings
- Phone and in-person conferences
- Legal research
- Case preparation
- Drafting legal documents
Other than attorney fees, what costs can be expected?
Attorneys do not usually work alone. They depend on paralegals, messengers, investigators and other experts to help them with their cases, and all of these individuals can bill at their own set rates. Of course, divorcees can also expect to pay court fees and filing costs, among other costs. Legal counsel can provide more information on potential expenses.
Along with asking these questions, Washington residents can save money by making sure they check an attorney’s track record before hiring, collect and organize as much information as possible on their own before filing their petitions, consider alternative dispute resolution methods, and avoid filing unnecessary motions.
Getting through the divorce process will inevitably cost money, but it doesn’t have to empty your bank account. With the assistance of legal counsel, you can find a way through the divorce process that doesn’t result in financial ruin.