Do you get asked how much a divorce costs a lot?
Edina divorce attorney, Linda Olup, shares what her most frequently asked question is.
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That’s one question that everyone asks, whether they have many resources or few resources. The truth of the matter is no attorney can accurately predict what a divorce is going to cost. And the reason is simple. I don’t know who the attorneys are gonna be on a case. I just know that if I’m on the case, I know how I operate. But I don’t necessarily know who your spouse’s attorney will be. Sometimes I do because the client has already been served with pleadings. But if I don’t know who the other attorney is, that’s an unknown. It’s a question mark. And if I have several of these question marks, it makes it more difficult for me to ascertain the cost.
Spouses, I don’t know what stage a spouse is stuck in until I really kind of get to know them better. It takes me a while to understand my client. I don’t understand them fully from the moment we meet. It’s a process of seeing how they react to certain situations. It’s a process of watching how efficiently and effectively they respond to me and the tasks that I give them. It’s only through that process that I can understand where they might be in the grieving stages.
I certainly don’t know where the other spouse is. I don’t know whether they’re angry, I don’t know if they’re in denial. I don’t know if they’re at acceptance. Again, more question marks. When I have a lot of question marks on a case, it makes it more difficult for me to know how much it’s going to cost. Sometimes I need experts. If I need one expert that might be shared by both parties called a neutral, that’s gonna keep the fees down. But if I need two experts, I need an expert and the other side is gonna have an expert, that’s gonna run up the fees. Again, question marks. And I won’t know those answers until I get more involved in the case. I think that my recommendations to people are get to acceptance as quickly as you possibly can because that is absolutely guaranteed to create a situation in which the party involved, the spouse involved will make decisions that keep the fees down.
Sometimes you have to do a cost-benefit analysis. In other words, you look at an issue and you say to yourself, “Is it worth spending $5,000.00 in attorney’s fees to recover $6,000.00 in money?” Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes the emotional investment that a spouse has to make into recovering the money it isn’t worth it to pursue it. Sometimes it is. But, again, that’s a cost-benefit analysis, and it goes to the heart of the matter, which is how much money are you gonna pay an attorney? And that’s the reason that no attorney can really accurately predict at the outset at least what it’s going to cost. If an attorney says to you, “Your divorce will cost X amount of dollars”, have them put it in writing. Then you’ve got a guarantee. But most attorneys will be unwilling to do that.