10 Ways to Save Costs on your Family Law Matter

Family Law matters can be costly but there are some practical things you can do to reduce your legal costs. These are some of our tips:

1. Prepare a brief chronology/time line of your relationship/Marriage setting out the dates of significant events. It doesn’t have to be lengthy – just the important things.

2. Prepare a list of all your property (both assets and liabilities) including information about who owns the property and approximate values. If there are companies or trust involved try to get their names – if there is a chart of how the entities fit together, all the better.

3. If you have had discussions with your former partner and know he or she does not agree to your values for the property pool, make a brief list of the values that are not agreed. One way to get an idea about the value of real estate is to obtain three independent appraisals from qualified real estate agents in your local area. These are normally done for free. DO NOT get a formal valuation – these normally cost a lot, and may still be challenged by the other party unless it’s been jointly arranged.

4. If values cannot be agreed for all motor vehicles and/or motor bikes in your name or possession obtain Redbook appraisals. These are normally free.

5. Contact your superannuation fund and obtain a member statement showing the current value of any superannuation entitlements in your name. Please be aware that some superannuation funds charge a small fee to provide a member statement. As a spouse you are entitled to get the same information about the other party’s superannuation, so try to obtain that as well.

6. Provide to your lawyer a complete copy of your financial documents that are required to be disclosed. The lawyer can give you the usual list of documents each side is obliged to show to the other. If you obtain and collate these documents that will save you time and money. Provide your disclosure documents to your lawyer in an organised way. You can even prepare an index and place the documents into a folder. The more work of this nature you do, the cheaper your costs will be.

7. Remember that your lawyer’s role is to provide you with legal advice. You may not always agree with that advice, but you should certainly give it serious consideration. Your lawyer is often able to see your matter more objectively than you purely because they are not on the emotional rollercoaster that you may be experiencing.

8. Always remember that your lawyer is not a counsellor. Whilst they are sympathetic to your situation, and will “go to bat for you” in Court and in negotiations, their role is as a legal advisor and advocate. We normally recommend expert counsellors or other consultants to provide emotional support during the challenging times involved in a separation. We recommend Centacare, across Queensland, to provide our clients with the counselling and support they need during this challenging time.

9. Gather as much information as you can at the start of your matter. The more financial documents you have at the start usually means the easier your matter goes as it progresses.

10. Be mindful that friends and relatives, whilst supportive, are not experienced Family Lawyers. They are also often emotionally invested in the dispute. Seek their support and guidance, but remember to take legal advice from your Family Lawyer