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If there is one thing that divorcing parties can usually agree on, it’s that divorce is expensive.  This unfortunate truth is well known to family law lawyers and their clients, but there are ways to reduce legal fees during your divorce.  

The most effective way to limit legal fees and the overall expense of divorce is to find a way to settle with your former spouse about the terms of your divorce agreement.  Reaching an out of court agreement on issues like child support, spousal support, the division of assets and your parenting plan will save you not only the emotional burden of prolonged conflict with your ex, but it will save you thousands in legal fees.  

The cost of a divorce is dependent on a number of variables, including location, whether it is uncontested or contested, the length of the divorce process, and whether it goes to trial, and is therefore determined by a case-by-case scenario. In the unfortunate event that your case goes to court, in Ontario, legal fees can go up to and above $50,000.  Therefore, quickly coming to an agreement with your former spouse is the best way to reduce the expenses of divorce.  

While it may seem like the “big” items like child support and parenting would be the most difficult on which to reach an agreement, and they often are, it is not uncommon for property of little sentimental or financial value to become the subject of intense conflict and debate when a couple separates. If you can begin the process with the awareness that this is the kind of thing that drives costs up, you can do your best to prevent negotiations from spiralling into prolonged arguments about things that don’t really matter to you or your former spouse.

In addition to keeping your emotions in check during negotiations, you can also keep expenses down through the use of Mediation, wherein you appoint a neutral third party, a Mediator, to help you reach a settlement with your spouse. Mediation allows ex-spouses to actively engage in the dispute resolution process, and because they can impact the result, they are often more satisfied with the settlement.

Another strategy that can be used to reduce legal fees in a divorce is by “unbundling” the legal services of your family law lawyer.  This means that you hire your lawyer only to help you with the specific areas in which you require assistance.  This may mean they only help you in preparing your financial statement or your parenting agreement, but they do not guide you through the entire divorce process.  

While this approach may work for some couples, others are looking for a more comprehensive handling of their divorce.  Whatever you decide, the lawyers at Gelman & Associates will work with you to minimize conflict using our years of experience in family law.  We will help you achieve the settlement that is best for you and your family by assisting you in keeping your divorce out of the court’s hands and placing the decision-making with those that know you and your family best, you and your spouse. Have questions? Contact us today! 

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