10 Suggestions to Reduce Your Family Law Legal Fees by Laurie L. Watson

1.     Organization.   The more organized and detailed you are with your documentation, the better it is for anyone involved with the case.   The Attorney or Paralegal may change what you have done, but it will be far less expensive for you than providing your documentation in a bag or box that the Attorney or Paralegal has to organize and sort through.

2.    Be Responsible.   Don’t call your Attorney every time you feel you have been slighted or wronged by your ex-spouse/child’s parent.   Take a breath.   Venting about your ex-spouse, opposing counsel or “the system” may make you feel better, but you won’t be feeling so good when you receive your bill for the 20 phone calls you made to do so.   Try to make a list of any questions, comments, etc. that you want to discuss with your Attorney and schedule one call to address all of them.

3.     Be Prepared.   Make sure you are prepared for all meetings and telephone calls with your Attorney.   Consider taking notes so that you don’t ask the same question two or three times.   Your Attorney will bill you for their time, make the most efficient use of it that you can.

4.     Be Realistic.  Speak honestly to your Attorney and formulate realistic goals and expectations.   You don’t want your Attorney spending time discovering what you could have already told them from the beginning.   Be forthcoming from the outset and clear on what it is you would like to achieve.

5.     Be Responsive.   Provide requested information in a timely manner.   If you provide information quickly and as completely as possible, less time will need to be spent gathering the information and the more work that can be completed on your case.   Don’t make your Attorney hound you for information as it will only increase your bill.

6.     Utilize Paralegals.   The Paralegal’s time is billed at a lower rate than the Attorney and they know your case.   Keep in mind that they can’t give legal advice, however, if they can’t answer a question for you, they can consult with the Attorney and get back to you, or have the Attorney return your call if needed.

7.     Review your invoice.   Keep a record of the time you spend with your Attorney in telephone call, meetings, etc. and then compare that time to your monthly invoice.

8.     Be Respectful.   Always try to be respectful to the other side.    By acting with respect and reason you will be able to move your matter forward to resolution in a positive manner.   This may allow you to reach a settlement and prevent the cost of ongoing litigation.

9.     Inform Yourself.   Take some time to do some reading about family law and the divorce/custody process so you are not going into anything blind.   This will also better help you understand any options the Attorney may present to you.   You can then make a more informed decision which is right for you and your family, and may ultimately reduce your legal fees.

10.     Research.   Make sure you choose an experienced family law Attorney.

Sorting Through Holidays in Parenting Plans

For many people, holidays are emotionally-laden times. Parents cling to their favorite traditions and don’t want to lose them. They may be used to taking their kids to see extended family members at this time. Their work schedules may allow for vacation at these times. Some things to consider around holidays include:

Talk Early

Don’t wait until right before a holiday to have a plan in place. A comprehensive parenting plan should address holidays.

Be Fair

With divorce, you are not going to get everything that you want regarding time with your kids. While you may want all the holidays, this is likely not going to happen. Consider a fair way to split holidays. What is “fair” is different in each circumstance, but may include alternating holidays or letting parents pick the holidays most important to them and filling in the gaps.

Address Extended Family

Mediation may allow for the addition of provisions regarding extended family that a standard court order does not.

Consider Togetherness

Simply because a couple is divorced does not necessarily mean that everything must be separate. The parents may be able to complete some holiday activities together, such as attending a parade or concert recital.

work/life balance
Time Management Techniques

In our overworked and overscheduled lives, it is easy to feel like there is simply not enough time in a day to get everything finished. Some ways to make the most effective use of your time include:

Track Your Time

Keep a log of how you really use your time. Do this for one week to get a better idea of where your time goes. You may not realize how much time you spend updating your social media status or checking your email.

Establish Boundaries

With today’s technology, it can be difficult to draw firm lines around work time or personal time. Let people know when they will not be able to get a hold of you. Consider holding back on who you give your cell phone number to. Turn off technology at certain times like family dinner or your child’s recital.


While many pride themselves on the ability to multi-task, studies have shown doing multiple activities at one time is actually less efficient. Instead, tackle one task at a time from start to finish.


Achieving work-life balance is always a work in progress. Periodically, review your plan and recalibrate to accomplish your goals.

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Fall Health Tips

With the fall soon approaching, there are certain health considerations to factor in. These include:

Get a Flu Shot

Every year, thousands of people are hospitalized for serious cases of the flu. Getting a flu shot can help prevent illness and absence from school or work.

Eat More Pumpkin

Pumpkins have Vitamin A and C as well as other important mineral sources that can help lower cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds can be added to salads and other dishes for an easy boost.

Stock Up on More Veggies

Swap your summer produce for fall samples, such as cabbage, eggplant, carrots and squash. Introduce a new veggie into your meal plan at least once a week to maximize benefits.

Enjoy the View

Fall weather can make it a great and relaxing time to head outdoors. As the leaves change color, you can also enjoy the view while increasing physical activity by power walking, cycling, hiking or jogging.


A mother had three children ask her one day “Mom, what is special about me?”

She took each child alone and explained a different thing. “John, you are my eldest. You have strength and leadership. You will go far in life.” And true to her words, John grew up to be a great politician.

“Diane, you are my heart. Your love heals me when I’m feeling down, and you help others when they are hurt.” Diane grew up to be a world class doctor.

“Little Robert, you keep life interesting with your wonderful sense of humor. You can make anything funny.” Robert became Rob, America’s funniest comedian.

One child led his mother into a new world. Another healed her body when she was hurt. The last kept her laughing until she died.

One stranger asked the three how she died. Rob answered ironically, “Mom got a free surgery thanks to the free healthcare system John lobbied for. Diane did the surgery and forgot a scalpel in her.”

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