Separated – What next & how to save on legal fees
If you have separated (or thinking about separating), and plan on getting at least some basic advice from a lawyer about dividing your assets, there are ways you can keep your legal fees down and fast-track your case.
- Write a list of all assets, liabilities, superannuation, businesses and Trusts that you and your partner have (whether you own them together, in separate names or in someone else’s name for you).
- Provide your best estimated value for each item on your list.
- Send your lawyer a chronology (i.e. a timeline) of the relationship and the family’s finances. Include crucial dates and events, such as:
- When you started living together
- when you were married/separated
- children’s dates of birth
- periods of parental leave
- what each of you owned when you began living together
- employment/income histories (what each of you earn/ed)
- details of any inheritances, significant gifts, or other big payments
- Provide a summary of your future plans, such as what you intend to do for employment/income, if you plan to re-train, the status of your health, expected arrangements for the children, the major expenses of the children and who is expected to pay them.
- Make a list of your monthly living expenses and those of the children (i.e. a budget).
- When your lawyer asks for your “disclosure documents” (see our blog post Disclosure: what, when and why), gather them all together and send them to your lawyer in one email or one bundle. Most documents can be obtained electronically and quickly. Wait until you’ve got them all together, don’t send them in dribs and drabs.
- Think about your goals, fears, priorities, and questions. Know your “must haves” and your “negotiables”. Remember – no one can have everything, so think about where you are prepared to compromise. It can help to write these things down and provide them to your lawyer before the first meeting.
Providing your lawyer with instructions and documents in a comprehensive way, will enable your lawyer to work efficiently and cost-effectively. The more organised you are, the quicker and easier it is for your lawyer to get started on your case.
Save money and time by supplying us with detailed information about your personal and financial circumstances. Fill out the details in the form below with as much information that is easily accessible at this time and a lawyer will be in contact with you to arrange an appointment with you to give you the advice you need