Today we will venture into dangerous territory. Let’s talk about legal fees. More importantly, let’s figure out how to feel better about legal fees.
The decision to spend money on legal counsel needs to be done with eyes wide open. There is always the chance that despite incredible effort, litigious talent, and money spent, you may not win your battle. By winning, I mean achieve your divorce goals.
Make sure you like your reasons
How do you keep your eyes wide open? Simple. Just like your reasons for entering into battle. If you like your reasons for spending the money, rolling the dice, making the economic and emotional sacrifice…no need to look back.
For most of my clients, who are single parents without a trust fund, spending 5 or 6 figures on legals is heart stopping. But, they do it anyways, because succumbing to a situation that is not tolerable for their children is far worse.
So, always remember your reasons for undertaking this huge financial obligation. It makes it much easier when you can explain to your catastrophizing brain that this is a future-focused worthwhile expense.
Have your back throughout
A legal battle will have its ups and downs. Expect obstacles along the path to your goal, and even some re-routing. This is not a reason to despair, and it will be easier for you if you expect these hiccups. Not every legal outcome will be as planned, so it is critical to stay true to your “why” along the way. This is a wicked curriculum you are on, and there is no merit to beating yourself up en route. As long as you like your reasons and you have your back, the journey will be less arduous. Doubt and frustration will periodically infringe on the journey. When that happens, again, no need to despair, just remind that human brain of yours to stay the course until you get where you need to be.
Overcoming your money mindset – think long game
Quite often, when I start with a client they have poor or no representation. It is usually driven by the desire to save money on legals. The cost of this choice is often high. The expense of inadequate protection starts to outweigh the expense of capable counsel. That is why clients will often double down on the legals and change counsel during their battle.
I love to remind my clients that in 20 years from now, the 6 figures they spend on legals will have no impact on their wealth. But, it will have an immeasurable impact on the quality of life and welfare of their children and the new family unit. This may be the single most important way to feel better about legal fees.
There is no better way to overcome a scarcity money mindset then to be embroiled in litigation. You can either suffer and worry the whole time, or start to believe you will figure it out.
You are not alone…a few war tales
I have a client who has spent close to $300K to keep her son safe by having the other parent require sobriety monitoring. Expensive yes, but worth it for my client.
Another client has spent six figures to ensure her developmentally delayed son does not have overnights with a dad with a history of drug use. She would not change her path.
I have another client who has lived with her terrorist ex and spent multiple six figures to ensure that her son was old enough to manage his own safety once he will be alone with his other parent.
Another teacher client is “all in” to ensure right of first refusal and a parenting schedule that is optimal for her young daughter. I have two alienated clients spending bundles to regain parenting time with an estranged child.
This journey may seem unfair but somehow it is the path we are meant to travel. I traveled there too. Multiple six figures to keep my son and myself safe. I have no anger and resentment, as it was the path that led me here, as an advocate and mentor to others in the battle. As an example of what is possible after a high-conflict divorce. I have learned through personal experience, so that I can share it with you, how to feel better about legal fees.