Can I Make My Spouse Pay for a Divorce Lawyer?
Going through a divorce can be stressful and emotional. Knowing that your attorney fees are already covered can be a huge relief. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to expect their spouse to pay their attorney fees. It varies from case to case.
The decision regarding who pays divorce attorney’s fees is made by a family law judge, based on the specific circumstances of each case. In some divorce cases, the parties will pay for their own attorneys. In other cases, one spouse will be ordered by the judge to pay all or a portion of their spouse’s fees.
A divorce attorney can help you make a request for your spouse to pay for your attorney’s fees, as well as help you sort out many issues, such as the use of the home, child support, child custody, and more.
The family lawyers at Skillern Firm are here to help you. With decades of collective experience in helping our clients, we have the skill and knowledge needed to ensure you receive the best resolution to your divorce case possible. We know that every case is unique, and so we will make sure to understand your individual circumstances and treat your case with sensitivity and discretion.
Our team will fight on your behalf to ensure that your needs and interests are protected. We will always attempt to negotiate and mediate so that things can be settled in an amicable and timely manner, but we are more than capable of taking your case to court if necessary.
To speak to lawyers who care, contact Skillern Firm today at 936-213-8479 .
How Do I Request That My Spouse Pay For My Divorce Attorney’s Fees?
In order for your spouse to have to pay for your divorce attorney’s fees, you have to plead with the court to order your spouse to pay for your attorney fees in the Original Petition for Divorce. You won’t be granted relief if you haven’t pleaded for it in this petition.
You will need to specify that you are requesting interim attorney’s fees, which are attorney fees that will be paid by your spouse throughout the entire divorce process. If you are only awarded fees at the end of the divorce, then you will only be reimbursed for the fees after having to pay them yourself during the divorce proceedings. While this is very helpful, it does mean that you may struggle financially for the duration of your case.
A lawyer will be able to help you include this request in your petition and ensure you have the best chance of getting your fees paid.
What Does the Judge Consider When Deciding Who Pays Divorce Attorney Fees?
The state of Texas is a community property state, meaning that the assets and debts belong to both spouses until the divorce proceeding is completely finished. This includes attorney’s fees, and so they are subject to “just and right” division between the spouses.
It is a judge who determines who will pay for divorce attorney’s fees in Texas.
The first step a judge will take when deciding if the awarding of interim attorney’s fees is appropriate is to first look into your personal financial situation. They will assess whether a spouse earns significantly more than the other, and if so, then it’s likely that the judge will decide it’s fair and appropriate to order the more financially stable spouse to pay for all or a portion of the other’s attorney fees. If having to pay attorney’s fees would put you in a serious financial predicament, then you may be awarded attorney fees on an interim basis.
A judge may also consider it appropriate for your spouse to pay for your attorney fees if they have already hired an attorney, and it’s looking very likely that you are facing a lengthy and complicated divorce. For example, if child custody is being disputed and both you and your spouse want to be the primary conservator of your children, or you have large financial assets to dispute, then your case will likely take on average more time to settle. In cases like these, it’s more likely that you’ll be awarded interim attorney’s fees in your divorce case.
Will the Court Consider a Spouse’s Bad Behavior?
“Bad faith” is not just negligence or bad judgment – it is actually the conscious act of doing something wrong for a dishonest purpose. Many divorce cases involve incidents of bad faith in multiple different ways. This is because it often happens alongside the dissipation and hiding of marital assets.
Examples of bad faith include not complying with refusing to follow court orders, discovery requests, hiding assets, or intentionally prolonging the divorce process in order to create a financial hardship on the other spouse.
If one spouse acts in “bad faith”, the judge may order them to pay the other spouse’s fees.
When Will the Decision Be Made Regarding Who Pays Divorce Fees?
You will be awarded attorney’s fees at the end of a divorce. As these fees are considered community debt and/or joint property, both spouses will need to present a detailed accounting of their legal fees at the end of the proceedings. It will then be the judge’s job to decide how to divide up the legal expenses and attorney fees. If the judge orders one spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees, they will be reimbursing the other party.
What Happens if One Party Can’t Afford to Pay an Attorney During the Divorce Process?
During the divorce process, if one spouse can’t afford to pay for legal services and an attorney, they can request temporary fees by filing a Motion for Interim Attorney Fees. The judge will review the lawyer fees that have been collected so far, and the resources of each spouse. The judge will then decide if a spouse should pay for the other’s legal fees during the ongoing process.
Contact the Skillern Firm Today!
Divorce is an important turning point in a lot of people’s lives, and the settlement you manage to secure during this time can have a huge, lasting effect on your life. However, it can be a stressful and emotional time, which is why you need the right family law attorneys on your side to fight on your behalf.
The Texas lawyers at Skillern Firm want to help you. Our dedicated attorneys have years of experience in helping clients secure the best resolution in their divorce possible. Our team truly cares about you and what you’re currently going through, and we will prioritize building a strong and supportive attorney-client relationship with you. Whether it’s through litigation or negotiation, we are ready to fight on your behalf so that you can feel confident transitioning to your new way of life.
We will guide you through the entire process, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected throughout. We will handle your case with the sensitivity and skill that it requires, and provide you with the quality legal representation that you deserve.
To speak to our law firm, call us today at 936-213-8479!