Author Archives: Larry Sarezky

4 Keys to Choosing an Affordable Divorce Lawyer

Cost isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing a divorce lawyer. But it’s high on the list.  Lawyers are expensive enough; you don’t need to overpay them. To limit legal fees, take the following into consideration when you are choosing your lawyer:

1. Local hourly rates. Find out from folks near you who have been divorced or are divorcing, how much their lawyers charge per hour and whether they felt the billing practices were fair. Also, call around to the offices of some local divorce lawyers and ask:

  • What the hourly rates are for partners and associates.

Divorce Legal Fee Saver Tip #4:

Be Your Own Paralegal

Paralegals’ billing rates are much lower than those of attorneys, so you’d prefer that paralegals perform the more routine tasks in your divorce case. But you can avoid fees altogether by having someone else perform paralegal tasks. Who? You!

Discuss with your lawyer doing work yourself such as gathering, copying, scanning and organizing documents. If you don’t have access to a scanner for hard copies, see if you can use your lawyer’s. Otherwise, consider buying one yourself to organize key documents electronically. You can recoup the cost plus more with what you save on paralegal charges.

Divorce Legal Fee Saver Tip #3:

Save a Bundle of Legal Fees
With Unbundled Representation

There’s something really special about sitting in court with your lawyer waiting for your case to be called while the clock ticks away dollars from your wallet into your lawyer’s. And it’s especially painful if you’re waiting for something like a status conference that you could have handled (with a few minutes of instruction) yourself.

“Unbundled representation,” also known as “discrete task” or “limited scope” representation allows you do to that, by separating out or “unbundling” tasks for which you most need a lawyer, such as contested court proceedings, preparing settlement agreements and legal research, and paying only for those.

Divorce Legal Fee Saver #2

Saving Attorneys’ Fees in Divorce:
Pay Less with Good Timing

If you can afford a divorce lawyer, you should hire one. There’s too much at stake and too many complexities in divorce to risk “winging it” without expert advice. However, you can save some money by delaying hiring a lawyer while you take care of some things yourself. Here are some tasks you can probably handle without a lawyer’s help:

  • File for divorce yourself using forms available on your state’s court system website
  • Use a certified divorce planner or certified divorce financial analyst who charge substantially less than lawyers, to
    • Help you organize your financial paperwork


What your divorce lawyer’s hourly rate doesn’t tell you

Q: When does a 3-minute call from a divorce lawyer who charges $300 per hour cost MORE than the same call from a lawyer who charges $400/hr.?

A: When the $300/hr. lawyer charges in increments of 2/10 of an hour, and the $400/hr. lawyer charges in 1/10 increments.

Wait… WHAT?

The great majority of divorce lawyers charge by the hour, or portions (“increments”) thereof. Hourly rates depend on factors such as expertise, reputation, geographical location… and maybe how much they’re shelling out for their kids’ college educations.

Your Kids’ 4 Divorce Must-Haves

Using Mindful Parenting to Respond to Children’s Greatest Needs

Among the most frequently asked questions by new divorce clients is: “Will my kids be okay?”

The answer is that whether the children do well or poorly depends largely upon whether the adults act appropriately.   
Easy to say; not so easy for the adults to accomplish.

Good, mindful divorce parenting requires you to conscientiously and thoughtfully address your kids’ needs at a time when their world has been turned upside down. The problem is that your world is in turmoil as well.

CUSTODY BATTLE MYTH #8: “Not everything about the custody process is bad—it’s better than lawyers doing it all behind closed doors.”

This is the final myth David & Laura Sherwood voice to rationalize their custody case in the custody film Talk to Strangers. They are about to learn that for their kids, everything about the custody case IS bad.

In the “exit interview,” with the fictional filmmaker, Laura dials back her initial confidence, conceding that the custody evaluation process was “a little more difficult than I expected” (19:56). The demands of that process interfere with the kids’ activities such as nine-year-old Nick’s football practice (04:47) and twelve-year-old Emily’s participation in an advanced ballet class that she fears will be jeopardized by a conflicting appointment with the psychological evaluator (8:09; 09:56).

CUSTODY BATTLE MYTH #7 “Judges protect children.”

This is 1 of 8 myths voiced by parents David & Laura Sherwood to rationalize their custody battle in #TalktoStrangersFilm. It reflects the parents’ sincere though misguided confidence in their ability to protect 9-year-old Nicholas and 12-year-old Emily during the custody case.

As with all the myths that the parents articulate in the opening sequence, the statement that judges protect children from emotional harm during divorce seems, at first blush, reasonable enough. But the fact is that judges generally aren’t involved in custody cases until trial. That’s too late to prevent the harm the custody evaluation process can do to children.

CUSTODY BATTLE MYTH #6: “The custody evaluation process is designed to protect children and is implemented by professionals acting on the children’s behalf.”

This is one of eight myths voiced by parents David & Laura Sherwood to rationalize their custody battle in #TalktoStrangersFilm, reflecting their misguided belief that they and the court system can protect their children.

Contrary to the assertion by David (02:35)[1], the custody evaluation process is NOT designed to protect children. It is designed to gather information for the court.  In the process, it intrudes upon children’s lives, invades their privacy and increases their anxiety.

CUSTODY BATTLE MYTH #5 "Kids want to be heard, and the custody process gives them that opportunity."

This is 1 of 8 myths voiced by parents David & Laura Sherwood to rationalize their custody battle in #TalktoStrangersFilm. It reflects the parents’ sincere though misguided confidence in their ability to protect 9-year-old Nicholas and 12-year-old Emily during the custody case.

Like the other myths Mom and Dad articulate, this one contains a kernel of truth—but only a kernel—and is ultimately dispelled as the story unfolds.