Money Saving Strategies

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There are many factors that impact how much your case will cost.  You are not in control of all of them, but you have more power than you think.

There is ONE factor that has the most bearing on legal costs.  It isn't attorney fees, and it isn't court costs.  The biggest factor we consider in estimating legal fees is Conflict.

Control the Conflict, Control the Fees.

It is really a simple concept.  In a divorce case, for example, parties may disagree about almost everything or about just a few things.  If they focus on only those things they truly disagree about, lawyers will have to spend fewer hours on the case, and the fees will be less.  If, on the other hand, they choose to litigate every single issue, more hours will be necessary and more fees will result.
The least expensive divorce cases involve no conflicts.  In a truly uncontested divorce, the parties are in agreement about everything.  Both want a divorce.  They have decided how to divide their property and debt.  If they have children, they have agreed on custody, visitation, and child support.   We have a low-cost package for these divorces, and they can be completed quickly and inexpensively.
The most expensive divorce cases involve conflicts about child custody.  A full blown custody battle will always cost a significant sum.  Sometimes, these expenses are necessary.  When the future of your children is at stake, compromise isn't always the best option.
Most divorce cases fall in between these two extremes.  Routinely, there are conflicts about things like child support, visitation, property division, and debt.  Sometimes spousal support is an issue.  These cases offer the most opportunity for cost savings through strategic conflict management.
Controlling conflict has the most impact in domestic relations and civil cases, but it often works in other areas as well. 

Choose Your Battles.

It is important to look carefully at what you are fighting about.  While in the midst of a legal battle, it is easy to get into a winner take all mindset.  The most common example of this is division of personal property during a divorce.

Arkansas law generally requires an equal division of marital property.  This is pretty straightforward when it comes to real estate and big-ticket items like cars, but it often becomes difficult to divide all of the little things accumulated in a marriage

Crock Pots and Fry Daddies.

We have a rule here.  We never fight for Crock Pots and Fry Daddies.  It doesn't matter if they were wedding gifts, and it doesn't matter who used them most.  They can be replaced for less than it would cost to "win" them in a divorce proceeding.  

When you are trying to control the costs of your case, you have to consider what you are really fighting about.  It usually isn't worth it to get into a big battle over small items of property or minor details.

What Can We Agree On?

At the beginning of a case, determining what you can agree on is almost as important as knowing what you are in disagreement about.  Finding common ground not only reduces litigation and costs, but gets the ball rolling in the right direction to resolve the things that are contentious.

But They Won't Agree!!!

We are happy to work with the other party's counsel (or directly with the other party if he or she is unrepresented) to find that common ground.  We can attempt to facilitate a dialogue, or we can refer you to a mediator to help. 

Are There Other Options?

There are always other options.  We will do our absolute best to make sure you get the representation you need.
Sometimes, a case can be delayed until later, or some issues can be put off to a later time.
Sometimes, when money is a major factor, the best option is to settle the case.  We work to make sure you get the best possible outcome when negotiating settlement terms.

What About Pro Bono Representation?

We only accept Pro Bono cases by referral from legal service agencies.
However, in extraordinary circumstances, and on a very limited basis, we will provide services on a sliding scale.  Call (501) 291-0946 for more details.