EP 110: How Your Divorce Attorney is Manipulating You – and Tips to Keep Your Legal Costs Under Control


Some attorneys use tricks to make your divorce more expensive. Given all the emotions you are likely going through during your divorce (heartbreak, anger, guilt, and sadness), it is easy for an attorney to manipulate you into spending more money.

I do not want you to spend any more on your divorce than you have to. Every dollar you unnecessarily spend is one less dollar you have for your life after your divorce. I want you to be aware of these tricks, so you can watch out for them.

Want to listen to this episode on your mobile device? Just use one of the following links:  iTunes | Google Play Music | RSS Feed or click on the episode player above.

1) Playing therapist.

You hire a divorce attorney to advise you on the law and advocate for you. They are not there to listen to your emotional problems or provide therapeutic advice. Attorneys may try to play on your emotions and charge you for their time.

Perhaps you spend 15 minutes talking about emotional issues, and your attorney charges $400 an hour. So that is $100 that you have wasted. You could have used that money to get a full hour with a good therapist, who is actually trained to help you sort through emotional issues.

2) Focusing on irrelevant details.

Because you are likely in an emotional state, your attorney can trick you into fighting over issues that do not matter. It is important to keep the big picture in mind. I recommend making a list of the most important issues, and putting them in order. Then prioritize items on the top of the list, and avoid spending too much time fighting about items low on the list.

3) Treating you like an ATM.

From the beginning of the divorce process, your attorney knows what assets you have because you fill out a financial affidavit. Many attorneys will look at it and decide how much you can afford. They may just decide outright how much your divorce is going to cost. When attorneys try to manipulate you into fighting about irrelevant details and dragging out your divorce, they are effectively treating you like an ATM.

It is helpful to know their tricks and be aware of your priorities, so you can get through the divorce process as efficiently as possible. Do not waste any extra money on legal fees or other expenses that ultimately do not help you in the long run.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. Visit us at www.divorceandyourmoney.com for 1-on-1 coaching. If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this free advice.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.