Family law, especially divorce, can be draining, both mentally and financially. Our experience in working with clients going through tough and emotional situations has prepared us to be able to better prepare clients for the entirety of the process and help coach them through key timelines, steps, and events. Often, a divorce client will ask “Can I get attorney fees in my divorce case?”
If you too are wondering if there is a way to have your spouse pay some of your attorney fee costs, the answer is “maybe.”
After you’ve decided to move forward with a legal separation then divorce, fighting for your rights in family law cases can be expensive. Many attorneys charge an hourly fee, which can add up quickly.
If you are a dependent spouse, meaning you are financially dependent on your husband or wife and were also awarded alimony or post-separation support, you may be awarded attorney fees. The judge must consider whether you are unable to afford litigation costs.
Essentially, if you are not financially dependent on your spouse and you make relatively the same amount, you will likely not be able to receive attorney fees.
In order to request for your attorney fees to be partially or completely paid for, there must be a formal request for attorney fees in either a pleading or a motion prior to the hearing. If you cannot afford to pay for the costs of the action, a judge will assess several factors to determine if it is appropriate for your spouse to pay your attorney fees, and if so, how much.
Other considerations for attorney fees is whether the dependent spouse participated in an extra-marital affair, which would prevent them from collecting alimony.
When it comes to affording attorney fees in a custody action for custody of your child(ren), the trial court has discretion to award attorney fees to a party that is acting in good faith and has insufficient means to defray the costs of the motion.