Divorce Legal Fee Saver #4:

Be Your Own Paralegal

Paralegals’ billing rates are much lower than those of attorneys, so you’d prefer that paralegals perform the more routine tasks in your divorce case. But you can avoid fees altogether by having someone else perform paralegal tasks. Who? You!

Discuss with your lawyer doing work yourself such as gathering, copying, scanning and organizing documents. If you don’t have access to a scanner for hard copies, see if you can use your lawyer’s. Otherwise, consider buying one yourself to organize key documents electronically. You can recoup the cost plus more with what you save on paralegal charges.

With some direction by your lawyer and her paralegal, you can also summarize, index and analyze documents such as bank and credit card statements and even tax returns.

Of course, you have to actually HAVE the documents to organize them. Although it may not feel great to do, look for bank and credit card statements in your home where they are normally kept. Then look in as many other places as you can . . . as soon as you can. Securing documents early on can save the cost down the road of having your lawyer and paralegal track them down.

Make copies of as many documents as you can. If you suspect that your spouse might conceal information, decisive action may be necessary. Consider consulting with a forensic computer expert about seeking a court order to inspect your spouse’s computer.

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