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How on earth do people afford attorneys?

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statistic posted 10/17/2013 17:07 PM

I've visited with 4 attorneys and each quote me retainers that are way out of reach. They all said that it is expensive because we have a 3 month old, parenting plans have to be developed, etc. I'm curious as to how people pay thousands of dollars up front when I'm sure most don't go around saving money for such a thing! Personal loans? Family and friends? I'm truly SOL as I provide for my extended family and cannot ask for money. Is there anything I've not consisted that helped you with the financial burden?

Gemini71 posted 10/17/2013 17:09 PM

I took a loan out against the cash value of my life insurance policy.

You can also save money by coming up with your own parenting plan. There are plenty of books out there that can help.


[This message edited by Gemini71 at 5:29 PM, October 17th (Thursday)]

cmego posted 10/17/2013 17:28 PM

If you can negotiate and work together...we did mediation. I think it was about $500 to have the mediator help us agree on our terms, then we each turned the document over to a lawyer for review/suggestion.

Sometimes employers offer legal services cheaper than hiring one yourself.

Look into finding a firm/attorney that is offering pro bono services. Ask at your church, friends, etc. Some will also do a payment plan, put it on a credit card.

Yes, it is expensive, but it is cheaper than having to fight someone in court if you don't do it right the first time.

[This message edited by cmego at 7:23 PM, October 17th (Thursday)]

dmari posted 10/17/2013 17:28 PM

Credit cards :(
Will your divorce be uncontested?

Merlin posted 10/17/2013 17:32 PM


It's worth it!

Thefly559 posted 10/17/2013 17:40 PM

I will spend every dime I have and then beg and borrow the rest just so that pos doesn't win

peacelovetea posted 10/17/2013 18:01 PM

It was cheaper to do it right the first time than to spend more later to try to fix it. I was lucky to have the savings available in the marital funds but I would have put it on a card or taken more student loans to make it happen.

ChoosingHope posted 10/17/2013 18:52 PM

Huge loans from family. Completely worth it in my case.

I figure I got myself into this mess by innocently marrying STBX 18 years ago. Now I have to pay to save myself and my children. It's the only way I can look at the situation and stay sane.

LadyQ posted 10/17/2013 19:38 PM

I put mine on my credit card. My divorce was uncontested and basic. So, it "only" cost $1500.

Abbondad posted 10/17/2013 19:41 PM

I will spend every dime I have and then beg and borrow the rest just so that pos doesn't win

Same here. I didn't want this, but my hand was forced. I make OK money; at least it will keep coming in, such as it is, as I have great job security.

My meager savings is barely keeping up with the bills already. But, as one SI poster said to me early on when I fretted about funds, "At what price peace?"

That is how I am choosing to look at it. When I forked over that big retainer, and every time I pay my lawyer's bill, I resigned myself that this will hurt, financially. But it is just money. I will be OK. My kids will be OK. They will always be provided for.

I grew up lower middle-class and at times, poor. I never associated money with happiness. It just "greased the skids" in life. So for me, I am buying peace, order, and dignity for me and my children.

My STBXWW, however, loves money--she came from money--and associates it with contentment. Sad. So ironically, though she has no trouble affording her attorney, I am sure it is killing her.

It really is "just" money.

Ashland13 posted 10/17/2013 19:42 PM

Installment plan.

Very short email messages.

surviving1963 posted 10/17/2013 19:51 PM

My friend, also a BS, told me she took out a loan at her credit union for "Home Improvement". It was literally and figuratively the truth!

Bobbi_sue posted 10/18/2013 02:09 AM

My XH and I sat down and figured everything out before hand, that we would both agree to including the children, custody, visitation, the amount of CS. We did not use a mediator.

Then I found the cheapest lawyer I could find, and we only used the one lawyer. My whole D, including court costs and was under $400. He and I split that cost as I recall. (This was 1992-93).

One thing we definitely agreed on was that lawyers are greedy and it was well worth it to avoid paying our hard earned money to them. I went to one lawyer before that one who insisted on a $800 retainer fee and would not even listen to my plan to "get along" with my X for the sake of our kids. I'm sure he wanted a nasty fight and lots of $ for himself. Well, thank goodness the initial consultation was free and I never went back.

Thefly559 posted 10/18/2013 07:32 AM

Abbondad, if we don't fight now. When will we? I agree. It's only money. I will just make more. !!!!! You would be surprised the things we can do when failure is not an option!!!! Good luck

tushnurse posted 10/18/2013 08:05 AM

You can talk with them about payment plans, and or getting a bank loan.

There are also resources if you truly are destitute, without his income. Please look into all of this.

((((and strength))))

statistic posted 10/18/2013 08:51 AM

Wow. I get the sense that the quote I was given are not the norm. So far I've been asked to pay 8-10 grand with a 2 week payment plan :-/ The divorce will not be contested... At least I do not think. We live in a no fault state, however proof of infidelity provides me with a disproportionate share of our assets and less of our debt. Do I need to find a lawyer to lead the mediation since that sounds like a cheaper option? Or is this something I do on my own. I'm really confused. I feel like I'm coming undone... Personally, physically, and financially. Sorry for the slight vent.

peridot posted 10/18/2013 09:30 AM

I used a credit card, borrowed money and used my tax return and used a payment plan.

Very few people on here are able to do a divorce without an attorney, especially with kids. If you can't trust them in the marriage, you can't trust them in the divorce.

EvenKeel posted 10/18/2013 09:37 AM

Are you guys amicable enough that you can work out the details? We did it that way - wrote out our own separation (of propert, possessions and visitation)....the attorney just had to type it up and file it.

If you are dealing with someone who is reasonable - this is an option. If you have someone that is going to be a royal jerk and fight you on everything, then it is crucial you protect yourself and child.

We filed no-fault as well. Since Ex knew it was his fault, it was slanted to my benefit but he signed off on it all.

Also - pricing varies GREAT geographically.

Edited to answer your question: I started stockpiling money when I knew it was over. I saved up enough to cover what the attorney said it should cost. OF was more. I was still able to shift stuff around enough to cover the cost without going the loan route.

[This message edited by EvenKeel at 9:38 AM, October 18th (Friday)]

Gajit posted 10/18/2013 10:01 AM

I had to borrow from my mom and my uncle just to get HALF of the retainer!

It sucks!

Faithful w/Love posted 10/18/2013 10:30 AM

I am in the same boat. So for now, I will stay seperated and save. I have my own place so that makes it easier.

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