Can I Make My Ex Spouse Pay For My Legal Fees?
Oftentimes when we file a divorce complaint or when we receive a filed divorce complaint, one or both parties will request that the opposing party pay for their legal fees. There are factors that the court takes into consideration when they award one party the responsibility of paying the other party’s legal fees.
- Number one, the court will look at the large gap in incomes. If there is a huge difference in income potential or in earned income then the court has the ability to order that the higher-earning spouse pay for all or for some of the lower earning spouse’s legal fees. The courts usually award this to one party to make certain that both parties are on equal legal footing when they are going before the judge. It would be unfair for one party to have an attorney because they can afford it and the other party to be self-represented because they don’t have the funds to pay for an attorney.
- Number two, similar incomes. If the incomes are similar and one spouse doesn’t make more money than the other, then what happens is the court looks at the distribution of the assets in the marital estate. If, for example, one party’s going to receive more marital assets than the other party then the party receiving more assets might then be required by the judge to pay either all or most of the other party’s legal fees.
- The third way that a court might order one party to pay legal fees for the other is if one party is acting in bad faith by filing frivolous motions based on blatant lies about the other party or by failing to respond to requests for discovery. If either party is doing anything to continue to drag the other party into court unnecessarily, the judge may impose that party to pay the other party’s legal fees.
As you can see, there are many different ways that a court can order the other party to pay legal fees. It is not always awarded, but my position is if you do not ask you absolutely will not get it. Therefore, I suggest my clients always ask the court for the other party to pay for their legal fees when we are filing any sort of motion or complaint.
If you have questions on this topic or any other Family Law topic, be sure to contact our office to set up a meeting with an experienced Family Law attorney. To schedule a consultation, contact us at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org , or by scheduling a consultation online.