No one likes to spend money on attorney fees. Each party will spend more money resolving any family law dispute if one party, both parties, or their respective lawyers take unreasonable positions. If there are disputes about one or more important issues in a case, your attorney fees will increase. Again, that is why assessing the issues in your case, and trying to settle them, is so important.
There a number of ways you can help keep your attorney fees down. For example, one of the most expensive parts of a case can be the “discovery” process, in which your lawyer, and the opposing party’s lawyer, may ask you to provide a number of financial documents. If you timely copy and organize documents that are necessary to resolve your case, it will help keep your costs down. Another way to keep costs down is to “consolidate” any questions you have about your case. For example, it will save you money if you send one email a day, with five questions, instead five emails, with one question. If your case is contentious, another way to save money is to not be defensive, and to stay focused on your goals. Sometimes, communications from an opposing party may be inflammatory. It is important to be as non-reactive as possible, because responding to this kind of tactic usually does not resolve anything, but simply increases costs.
Under Oregon law, the court has the power to order one party to pay a reasonable sum to the other party for attorney fees, expert costs, and other expenses associated with a divorce. The court may also award attorney fees in other kinds of family law cases. This usually does not happen when parties settle their cases.
If your case goes to trial, courts may award one party attorney fees and costs. There are number of statutory factors a court will consider, along with the facts of your case, to determine whether an award of attorney fees is appropriate. Generally, in a divorce case, if assets are equally divided, courts are sometimes reluctant to award attorney fees unless one party acted unreasonably. In other family law cases, the parties’ respective economic circumstances, the reasonableness of their respective positions, and the level of each party’s efforts at settling the case all play a role in the court’s decision about whether to award attorney fees.
Peter understands that the best result for his clients is to resolve their cases with professionalism, integrity, and efficiency. If the circumstances warrant it, Peter will strongly advocate for an award of attorney fees and costs.
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