Who Pays Lawyer Fees For a Divorce?
Divorces are an incredibly emotional and intense experience for all involved. Combined with the cost of legal fees, it can become a high-stress situation. It is vital that clients feel supported and understand every step of the process during such an emotional chapter in their life.
Contact A Houston Divorce Attorney Today
It is essential to have a supportive and reputable legal team working on your case in order to achieve your goals from the divorce. If you are going through a divorce, our experienced and skilled divorce attorneys can support you through every step.
Contact Skillern Firm at 936-213-8479 to begin your divorce process.
How Does Texas Decide Who Pays The Divorce Attorney Fees?
A general rule for the distribution of divorce fees is that each party pays its own legal fees. In most divorce cases, spouses should expect this to be the case. Texas is a community property state, meaning that the marital property acquired during the term of the marriage is subject to division during the divorce.
This means that both parties’ assets could be divided between them at the conclusion of the divorce. Furthermore, Texas does not recognize separation, and therefore, a marriage remains intact until all elements of the divorce are completed.
Who Pays Lawyer Fees For A Divorce?
There are some exceptions to divorces that mean the legal expenses of one spouse aren’t paid by themselves. However, most clients in divorce cases will pay their own legal fees. Below we have discussed some expectations of this rule.
A client can petition for an order that means their spouse pays attorneys’ fees for them if
- The spouse filing the petition is a stay-at-home parent or spouse with a low income. A spouse that is described as dependent upon the other spouse could be eligible for their attorney’s fees to be paid for.
- A spouse has intentionally led to the litigation being an unnecessarily drawn-out process. In these circumstances, it can lead to an increase in attorney fees and could be a reason for the spouse acting in bad faith to pay.
- A dependent spouse whose name has been removed from any shared bank accounts by the other spouse.
In any of these circumstances, aJudge can order the spouse causing these factors to pay the other spouse’s legal fees in order to make the divorce process fairer. The gender of the spouses plays no part in these factors, and there is no law that favors one spouse in these circumstances. For example, a husband cannot be forced into paying his wife’s divorce fees simply because she is a woman.
Finally, one spouse cheating during the marriage does not cause the cheating spouse to pay the entirety of the legal fees. This does mean that the spouse that is the victim of adultery is still responsible for paying their legal fees in a divorce they may not have wanted.
What Happens If A Spouse Can’t Afford The Legal Fees?
During the divorce process, if one spouse is lacking the financial stability to pay their legal fees, they can request temporary fees under the Motion of Interim Attorney Fees. A judge will then determine the attorney’s fees in the divorce as well as the financial status of both parties.
The financial status of each spouse will be examined through the following factors –
- The potential to borrow from the spouse’s family.
- Retirement savings that can be used.
- Accessible cash balance.
- Credit card balance authority.
Using these factors, a judge can request that one spouse pays for the other spouse’s legal fees. In these circumstances, the spouse with the higher financial status could be ordered to pay a flat payment or match their own attorney fees for the other spouse’s attorney’s fees.
It is imperative for clients to be transparent about their financial status in order to receive the correct support from their divorce attorney and the divorce court.
When Is The Decision For One Spouse To Pay The Divorce Fees Made?
Attorneys’ fees are settled on the final day of the divorce proceedings. This occurs once both parties have presented their costs during the conclusion of the divorce process. Therefore, once the Judge has decided how the fees should be shared, the spouses will be told at that point. This means that if a spouse’s attorney fees are being paid for, this will occur after the conclusion, and the spouse’s fees will be reimbursed.
How Can Bad Faith Impact The Distribution Of Attorney Fees?
In addition to financial status leading to one spouse paying for the other spouse’s attorney fees, acting in bad faith can also lead to this outcome. This can be due to one party resisting compliance with a court-required mediation or the discovery of assets process.
A Judge can view these actions as intentional acts to disrupt the divorce process. The order means one spouse pays divorce attorney fees for the other spouse, can be called during a Judge’s order or at a divorce hearing.
Who Should File For Divorce First?
There can be some advantages to being the spouse that files for divorce first. If you decide the marriage has broken down or you suspect your spouse to file for divorce, contacting an experienced divorce attorney can help you decide when is the best time to file for divorce.
If you have already filed divorce papers from your spouse, contacting an attorney can help you feel more confident with the process, as well as protect your valuable assets from property distribution.
Can I Use A ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Divorce?
In many cases, a DIY divorce ends in the client contacting an experienced divorce lawyer to explain a legal proceeding or to correct a flaw in the divorce process. Many clients are enticed by the promise of a quick, easy, and low-cost divorce, however, it rarely proceeds in that way.
Problems in a DIY divorce can arise due to the following:
- Legally inaccurate divorce papers.
- A lack of clarity on which box to tick.
- The divorce is not being finalized.
- Difficulty understanding the vague or non-specific language used.
Many other problems can arise when a divorce is not being guided by an experienced divorce attorney. An experienced lawyer is committed to supporting their client through the divorce process as seamlessly as possible whilst reducing the possibility for future problems to arise.
How Are Attorney’s Fees Considered During The Final Settlement?
A divorce lawyer’s fees are decided at the final property settlement discussions. Due to fees of both spouses’ lawyers being community debt until the final day of the divorce, it is vital that both parties present clear and detailed reports of the costs acquired throughout the divorce process.
By the end of the divorce process, attorney fees account for a large amount of the community debt. When calculating the marital property within a divorce, both spouses should be prepared for the attorney’s feed to be deducted by this amount before it is distributed between the spouses.
Our Law Firm Can Help You Today
Our experienced divorce lawyers are ready to support your divorce from day one. We will thoroughly explain and support our clients through every step of the divorce process.
Trust one of our reputable divorce lawyers with your divorce case by contacting Skillern Firm at 936-213-8479 today.