Salka Settlement Services, Family Law and Mediation, LA California 1216 N. Norman Place
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 207-1049 |

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Divorce Settlement

How can I keep my attorney fees under control?

Selecting a consensual dispute resolution process is a good start. CDR is far less formal than litigation which means that information can be gathered cooperatively and more cost-effectively. Clients generally use joint experts, if such expertise is necessary, and this, too, is a cost-saver. Furthermore, a CDR provider will not spend time writing inflammatory letters to opposing counsel, will look for cost-effective solutions and will offer practical, realistic options.

If you are hiring an attorney as a consultant, try to find one who is himself or herself a mediator. Anyone can say they are supportive of mediation, but only trained CDR providers have the skills to know how to avoid escalating a matter, with a concurrent escalation of fees. Make sure your consulting attorney understands your goals and doesn't substitute his or her idea of "what you could get." Your so-called "best" case is not the likely case and it generally comes with a high cost.

The emotional crisis which you may be experiencing, however, can aggravate your financial situation even in a mediation if you permit it. You are capable of keeping your mediation fees at a minimum by following these simple guidelines:

  1. Remember the high cost of telephone calls and emails. It may be helpful for you to keep personal notes regarding questions that enter your mind. Reserve your telephone call or email until you have thought about what it is you really need to know.
  2. E-mails are a good and efficient way to arrange appointments and handle other logistics. It is generally not a good way to resolve substantive issues as it does not provide the flexibility or communications clues that are necessary to resolve such problems. Save fees by using email for limited purposes and meet on zoom or in person to resolve the issues that require a back and forth communication.
  3. Organize your questions and concerns before you speak with your professional and then try to discuss several issues at one time. One long conversation is more time efficient since you generally are paying in one-tenth of an hour increments.
  4. Certainly, your emotions and your interaction with your spouse will impact the process and are important in making this a healing process. In a collaborative case, there will be coaches to assist everyone deal with those emotions. In a mediation, if there is no coach, you may want to consider personal counseling as a more cost-effective way of working through some of your concerns.
  5. Participate as effectively as you can in your own case. Your time will be less expensive to you than a professional's time. You should obtain and organize as much of the information and documents for your case as possible, consistent with its proper and expeditious handling. For example, if you are filling out disclosure documents and bring your professional a confusing, unorganized mass of various documents to attach to these forms, the professional will have to organize them and you will pay his or her hourly rate for these services.
  6. Organize the correspondence and legal papers involved in one file or a binder and bring them to all meetings. In this way, you have your own set of documents to which to refer.
  7. When information is requested of you or some action is required on your part, follow directions and respond as quickly as possible. Your delay can be costly in that it will require follow-up action and you are paying for that attention.
  8. Think about settling your case earlier rather than later.

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