Who Pays Attorney Fees in Divorce? 

If your marriage is ending, you are likely wondering who pays for attorney fees in a divorce. While neither spouse is required to pay, it is important to note that the Courts do try to level the playing field and encourage equal sharing of costs. As such, costs are deducted from each spouse’s share of the assets and divided proportionally. However, if your marriage has remained intact and you both agree to split the costs, you should be able to cover all of the costs. 

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Neither spouse is required to pay 

In some circumstances, a court may order one spouse to pay for the attorney’s fees. However, if a party is highly wealthy, the court may be less likely to order one spouse to pay for the litigation costs. The court might do so, for example, when the less-wealthy spouse tries to drag the case out to obtain more money, and this can result in a lower award. 

Each spouse pays proportionately 

The courts have the discretion to determine whether each spouse pays attorney fees in a divorce. When one spouse has more money, it may be more reasonable for the court to award attorney fees proportionally. Otherwise, the less wealthy spouse cannot expect the more wealthy spouse to cover the costs of litigation. But in some cases, the court may award attorney fees regardless of the monetary disparity. Here are some factors to consider before seeking attorney fees in a divorce. 

Courts want to level the playing field 

When it comes to paying attorneys, one spouse is usually better off than the other financially. If one spouse spends $10,000 on an attorney, the other must pay at least the same amount. In addition, if one spouse is unemployed, they can borrow from friends and family to pay their attorney’s fees. However, if one spouse does not have the money to pay their attorney, they must seek other means of funding the case, such as a court order. 

Costs are deducted from each spouse’s share of assets 

The costs of a divorce can be high, especially if there is a dispute over the division of property. In most cases, a spouse hires an attorney to represent him or her during the divorce, and some attorneys even hire financial experts and other experts to assist them. However, if a spouse does not want to hire an attorney, he or she can ask a judge to order the spouse to pay the fees. 

Dependency on other spouse affects the award of attorney’s fees 

Whether a dependent spouse is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees in a divorce depends on the financial circumstances of both parties. If the dependent spouse has an income that is significantly lower than the other spouse’s, he or she may be eligible for a need-based award of attorney’s fees. A dependent spouse may also have a large retirement fund that could influence the judge’s opinion.