One way to help drive costs out of the divorce process is to gather as much financial information as you can, especially while you still have access to it. Some lawyers call this early information gathering as “informal discovery”. The more information you can gather early in your divorce process, the more you will help expedite your divorce to a successful conclusion, while saving costs and fees in the process. Hopefully, this is part of your overall strategy, while protecting your legal rights.
Many divorces involve a process known as discovery. Discovery is basically the act or process of finding or learning something that was previously unknown. Many lawyers use discovery techniques to obtain financial documents and other key pieces of information. Bank records, tax returns, property appraisals, business records, investment and IRA account statements, etc. are needed to determine and accurately divide marital assets.
If you have access to this information, you should make copies and put the copies in a safe place, preferably, outside the marital home. When gathering and copying the information, it is better to be over inclusive rather than under inclusive.
Obviously, it is not always possible to obtain all the necessary information. Your lawyer knows this. In many households, one spouse or the other typically handles the finances. That spouse usually stores the documents or knows their whereabouts. However, you have every right to obtain and copy anything you own.
Your lawyer can subpoena banks and financial institutions for any missing documents. There are other legal methods to obtain missing documents directly from your (soon to be) ex-spouse. All of this extra work can be time-consuming and/or expensive. The more prepared you are at the front end of the divorce process, the more you can help drive some of your costs and expenses out of the divorce process.
This is just one way you can take a proactive role in lowering your overall costs in divorce.