Dispute Resolution Options: Cost of Collaborative v. Cost of Litigation

As couples consider finances and collaborative practice, they should think about attorney fees and costs they could save by successfully collaborating. Avoidable litigation tasks include those highlighted below in boldfaced green. Imagine if your family could save that money.

Ask about projected fees at your lawyer’s hourly rate and costs to litigate, compared with fees and costs to collaborate.  Ask if flat fee arrangements based on the number of meetings may be an option.  Each round of litigating – initial proceedings, modifications, enforcement actions – can trigger a new cycle of attorney fees and costs.  What if your family could avoid the time and emotional tax spent litigating, sometimes for years, rather than pursuing happier, more productive things?

A.  Case Assessment, Development, Administration

  1. Facts Investigation/Development
  2. Analysis/Strategy
  3. Experts/Consultants
  4. Document/File Management
  5. Legal Research
  6. Budgeting
  7. Other Case Activity (Including Joint & Professional Meetings)

B.  Pre-Trial Pleadings and Motions

  1. Pleadings
  2. Legal Research
  3. Preliminary Injunctions & Provisional Remedies
  4. Court Mandated Conferences and Other Hearings
  5. Dispositive Motions
  6. Temporary Hearing and Other Hearing Preparation and Attendance
  7. Other Written Motions, Submissions, Agreements & Judgments [Marital Settlement Agreement]

C.  Discovery

  1. Mandatory Financial Disclosures under Florida Family Law Rule 12.285
  2. Document requests, interrogatories, requests for admissions
  3. Third party discovery (e.g. employer, banks)
  4. Responding to interrogatories and document requests
  5. Legal Research
  6. Document Production
  7. Depositions:
    • Party1’s deposition
    • Party2’s deposition
    • Nonexpert Witnesses
  8. Expert Depositions
    • Party1’s expert’s deposition
    • Party2’s expert’s deposition
  9. Discovery Motions
  10. Other Discovery

D.  Mediation, Trial Preparation, and Trial

  1. Mediation Statement and Conference (Note: Sometimes collaborating teams use collaborative mediation to work through remaining unresolved issues)
  2. Pre-trial Statement Preparation
  3. Witness List Preparation
  4. Exhibit List Preparation
  5. Preparation Fact Witnesses
  6. Preparation Expert Witnesses
  7. Written Motions and Submissions (e.g., Motions in limine)
  8. Other Trial Preparation and Support
  9. Trial and Hearing Attendance
  10. Post-Trial Motions and Submissions (e.g., proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, final judgment, motion for rehearing, motion for reconsideration)

E.  Appeal and Remand

  1. Appellate Motions and Submissions
  2. Appellate Briefs
  3. Oral Argument
  4. Remand – Insufficient findings, incorrect ruling.

F.  Expenses

  1. Expert Fees (evaluator, Guardian Ad Litem, accountant)
  2. Private Investigator
  3. Travel to depositions, hearings, and trial
  4. Transcripts and Video copies
  5. Demonstrative Exhibits, PowerPoints, etc.
  6. Copying, etc
  7. Other (Including Filing Fees)
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