8 Ways to Minimize Legal Fees in Your Divorce

1. Choose an attorney who is experienced and settlement-oriented. Select an attorney with a style and approach that resonates with you. Make sure the attorney you choose is experienced in matrimonial and family law. Ideally, your attorney’s practice should be concentrated in this area. Ask questions to determine if the attorney’s approach is to immediately engage in “attack” on your spouse (which will most likely increase your legal fees with minimal gain) or whether the attorney will help you move forward to achieve your goals (which will ultimately save you time and money).2. Instead of immediately entering the divorce litigation process, engage in mediation or the collaborative divorce process. In general, divorce litigation tends to be the most costly method of obtaining a divorce. Instead, opt for mediation or collaborative divorce. Mediation is a process in which you and your spouse reach an agreement on such issues as custody and parenting time of your children, alimony, child support, college expenses, division of assets and debt, taxes, and retirement. One of the most significant benefits of mediation is that it generally brings about communication in a way that helps you to work together as co-parents. Another important benefit is that settlements reached during mediation generally have a higher compliance rate because you and your spouse have created your own agreement. You still need to have an attorney prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement, but the legal fees tend to be much lower because your issues are already essentially resolved. Another alternative is to use the collaborative divorce process, which uses a team approach with a goal to settle all of your issues without going to court. Your team would include both attorneys, and could also include coaches, child specialists, financial advisors, forensic accountants or other professionals as appropriate to assist in resolving your unique issues. The fees spent in the collaborative divorce process tend to be much lower than in litigation mostly because you control the outcome.3. Identify your most important goals and interests. Think about what is most important to you concerning your children as well as your long-term financial interests. For instance, do you want your children to have meaningful contact with both parents? Do you want to minimize outside child care? Do you want to have an agreement about how you and your spouse will pay for college for your children? Do you want to be able to retire at a particular age? Do you want to put off working full-time until your children complete a certain level of education? Maybe you want to be able to start a new career or get out of debt. Identifying your significant goals and interests early on will streamline the divorce process for you, saving both time and money.4. Identify your spouse’s most important goals and interests. Talk to your spouse in an effort to learn what is most important to him or her. This can be extremely valuable information when negotiating.5. Work with your attorney and/or mediator to generate creative ways to achieve your most important goals. Instead of blaming your spouse (which will drive up your legal fees with little, if any, positive outcome), brainstorm ways to achieve your most important goals and identify what additional resources you might need. Focus on creating a successful co-parenting arrangement with your children now and into the future.6. Know your assets. Gather and organize important documents, such as bank and brokerage statements, property titles, insurance policies, 401(k) plans and IRAs, tax returns, mortgages, and medical records. Find out the approximate values of significant assets, held either individually or jointly with your spouse. This will minimize the need for extensive discovey, which will likely increase your legal fees.7. Know your debts. Obtain your credit report and address any problems right away. Find out balances of significant individual and joint debts, including mortgage, credit cards, and loans. Again, this will minimize the need to pay your attorney to obtain this information in the discovery process.8. Educate yourself. Ask your attorney to describe the divorce process in your state and/or research the divorce process, the terminology, and the options. You will be in a better position to advocate for yourself when you know the facts. This can save you both time and money.

How to Achieve Online Business Success

You will probably see many online marketers advertising their online businesses success stories in the hope that you will sign up for their product or to follow the approach that they are suggesting. This method of ‘show me proof’ advertising is a solid way for them to build their own income, as so many people are striving to build online businesses these days.Just seeing so many different people, each with similar success stories, can make any business opportunity look more attractive. However, once you sign up there is a real possibility that you find yourself having trouble achieving the same business success that they enjoyed. These three tips will help to guide you in your own online business.Know Your IntentionsIt is very understandable that people attempt to create their own businesses or join Internet opportunities for the sole purpose of making more money and hopefully achieving financial freedom. However, if you only approach it in this way, it will probably affect your performance once you realize what you actually need to do.Understand why you want to create an online business – what else is there besides just making money? Is the venture you are pursuing something that you are passionate about and will personally enjoy, as you need to have the motivation to keep the business healthy and growing?Remember that there are other options too, such as online jobs and freelancing, so you must carefully consider if running an online business will give you the outcome that you are aiming for.Know The FactsThere is very little financial risk involved in setting up an online business, as very few opportunities require any form of upfront fee. However, if time is critical, you should properly analyze the facts and requirements for a typical Internet business before deciding if that is the right way for you to achieve online business success.First, any online business, no matter how good it is, takes time for income to be realized. If an online business opportunity that you are investigating insists that cash flow is quick, it is likely that the program either uses practices where you need to pay a large upfront fee or the business model is being over hyped.Once you accept that it does take some time to build an Internet business you will be in a better position to allocate your time and finances wisely. Set aside some time in your plan to work on your Internet marketing skills so you can build income streams early on through affiliate marketing or through advertising programs like Google AdSense.You can also research other Internet opportunities and observe the performance of other marketers to work out what they are doing that makes their online businesses successful. It is a well-hidden fact that most Internet marketers have taken time to grow their business, but if they are claiming to use free techniques to get there, pay attention to find out what these are so you can use them in your business and keep your costs down.Know When To ActWhen you decide to start an online business you become your own boss and this brings you the flexibility of deciding when to work and how you will spend your time when you are working. To make sure you are ready and start on a solid foundation do some heavy research on current trends and competitors to build up a library of bookmarks and software applications to get started.Also, be careful that you only try to handle one online business or opportunity at a time so you can fully focus, as this is key to reaching your online business success even sooner.

The Biggest Lie In Personal Finance Matters

I’m broke and I can’t afford to… (fill in the blank…save, add to my retirement, go on a vacation, and pay my bills). The truth of the matter is most people are only broke in the way that they spend money and the great news is that can be fixed. So stop complaining and let’s get started.Take this daily challenge below for 7 days. Each day has different stresses and different issues that we respond to so until you know what you do you can’t change it.Track everything that you do. First is the easiest because all you have to do is keep a daily diary of everything you spend whether it is cash, debit card, check or credit card. There is no right or wrong here just keep a diary.Next take your monthly bill and break them down to what it cost you per day. Things like groceries, cable TV, Newspaper subscriptions, car payments and utilities.The next is a little tougher. Go back over the last year and make a list of all the unexpected expenses that hit you. Things like tires that blew out, unexpected car repairs and health related issues.After the week is up take you diary of daily expenses and put it on one list adding up the total for each item. Now look at each of those and think about how important they are to you. Look at how they affect your life. Not being preachy here but things like tobacco products and alcoholic product add to not only the cost of our health care but also to things like how much time we spend at the gym to work off those couple of beers we have a day.Just think if you could eliminate just one of those items you spend $35 per week on that is merely an impulse item. This would save you $1820 a year and if you have been broke for 10 years then this is $18200 plus interest. Not bad for cutting out just one $5 per day item.Now let’s look at those items that are monthly types of bills. Do you really watch all those channels that you have on your TV. Could you lower the bill by $20 a month by eliminating some of them? What about your monthly electric bill. Could you move the thermostat just a few degrees and see a $20 a month savings? What about groceries? Most of us would not miss $20 per month out of the grocery basket.If you can find 5 items that you can save $20 per month on then you have save $1200 per year. Or better yet $12000 in 10 years. Not a lot but if you are “broke” it is a great fix.Now let’s look at unexpected cost. Most of these come from us not doing something that we should have done or not done. Granted some of them are just maintenance that we would have had. But if we take better care of our health we spend less on prescriptions and health care. If we take better care of our home we have few maintenance items that cost more than if we had taken care of them sooner. And if we had done the routine maintenance on our car a simple fix would have prevented major damage from happening.Most people can find $1500 a year in unexpected costs that could have been eliminated if they had just….. Again not much but in 10 years it is $15000.All of these are small things but if you had just…then you would have saved $45200 in the last 10 years plus interest that would have raised that to $59867. I know it sounds easy but it is hard to do. But isn’t it hard living your life “broke”?Now is the time to “fix” your personal finances. Build a future with savings and a retirement plan.To find out more about how to “fix” your personal finances and build a savings plan and a retirement plan see the resource box below.