Controlling Cost of Divorce

Minneapolis Family Law, Real Estate & Estate Planning Attorney John Brandt, talks about how to control the cost of your divorce.

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The cost of anything legal in my mind is too expensive. But then again, the cost to get my car fixed is too expensive. But I can’t fix my car anymore ’cause I don’t know how. And when people come to me, I tell ’em a story about how I searched for a carbonator on a car for about an hour and then realized they didn’t have carburetors on cars anymore. And I take my car to a mechanic since then.

And when people come to see a lawyer, they have to understand that lawyers are expensive. Their time is expensive. And how can a client save money on that? Number one is have faith in your attorney then they give you answers, to trust them, to know so that you don’t have to contact them all the time.

One of the things that clients don’t understand is that all I have to do is to sell my time, and if you take up my time, you have to pay for it. And so if I have a good relationship with a client and I give ’em an answer, they don’t need reaffirmation every two days with the same question.

The other thing is, is clients can do a lot of things for themselves, and I give them the options. In family law cases there can be some type of research or investigation that they can get from various entities them self like bank records, other things like that where if I do it, it’s gonna cost a lot more. They can handle some of those chores themselves.

But the other part and maybe the biggest part of it is, is if you can get the client to be reasonable. Staying out of court should be the goal, I think, the beginning because court is expensive. Preparation to go there and the actual time spent at court is expensive. And that’s where I think that parties being reasonable, using various forms of alternative dispute resolution can really save a party a lot of money.

When I first have somebody contact me about representing them, I do bring up the prospect of them just handling the – going to not an arbitration, but going to a mediation o their own because I feel that if they can settle it on their own, that’s more power to them. But I think that if a party’s gonna do that, I do think they first need to consult with an attorney and get an understanding of what the law is. But I think if a party ca settle a case on their own with just the help of a mediator, I think it bodes well for themselves and the relationship in the future and the relationship with their children if they have children involved.

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