By Colleen Honquest
Divorce is not only difficult, it can also be a major hardship. Pursuing mediation could potentially keep costs down, keep you out of court and help you maintain power over decisions that will affect your respective futures and children, if applicable. In the event you’re navigating a high-conflict divorce, hiring an attorney might ultimately be necessary. There are ways to control costs.
If you are working with an attorney, be aware of how you are being billed. Ask questions like “If we have a five-minute phone conversation, will I be billed? What about text messages?” Make sure you are getting a monthly statement. This is important as it will make it easier to budget for legal fees and also to look for mistakes in billing or questions that you may have regarding billing by ancillary staff. Be aware that you hired your lawyer and that you do have a say in your divorce process. Your attorney should be your advocate and confidant. He or she should be responsive to your calls or emails- within a 24 to 48 hour period depending on whether or not it is an emergent issue and the attorney’s communication procedure.
Or, you may choose to represent yourself in court and this is called going “Pro Se”. Most courts have resources to help you both in the courthouse and online. Ultimately, it is up to you, as the couple, to decide what kind of divorce you will have and what your life will be like post-divorce.
The more work that you can do as a couple and the more you can agree on issues, the quicker the process will be. Mediation allows you to control your divorce process. Additionally, it will be considerably less expensive and you will not be at the mercy of the court’s schedule. You will be able to schedule your mediation or collaborative sessions to fit into your already busy life. These options are priceless for an individual who is juggling work, family, and a divorce. Contact us at DivorceMD and we’ll work with you to schedule a free consultation. When you’re ready to go ahead, we’ll schedule your mediation sessions around your schedule.
Colleen Honquest is Principal of DivorceMD, LLC, (website launching soon!), a Divorce Mediator, Certified Divorce Coach™, and Director of the Naperville Illinois Chapters of the National Association of Divorce Professionals. (NADP).