How Do You Get Your Spouse to Pay Attorney Fees in a Divorce? 

If your spouse refuses to pay your attorney’s fees during the divorce, you can request that the judge order him or her to foot the bill. To request such an award, you should follow the steps below: 

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Reasons a judge might order your spouse to pay attorney’s fees in a divorce 

A judge can order one spouse to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees if they are misbehaving or wasting their time. If the other spouse is trying to use your divorce case to avoid paying for their own attorneys, it may be time to consider requesting the court to order the other party to pay your attorney’s fees. There are several reasons why a judge might order your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees, and you need to understand them. 

One of the main reasons a judge might order your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees is your financial situation. Your financial condition will play a major role in the court’s decision, and it can affect the outcome of your divorce. If you are in financial distress, you can prove that paying for an attorney would cause you severe financial hardship. On the other hand, if you have a higher income than your spouse, the court may order you to pay for the attorney’s fees during the interim. 

Requirements for an award of attorney’s fees in a divorce 

In a divorce, a judge will consider whether a spouse should be required to pay attorney’s fees in order to protect the interests of one party. Generally, the court will consider whether a spouse acted in bad faith and how this may have influenced the outcome of the case. If bad faith is demonstrated, the court may tip the scales in favor of a punitive measure. The husband in this case took hard positions during litigation, which the court found unreasonable. The court also considered the financial circumstances of the parties and what they could afford to pay for an attorney. 

The judge can also award attorneys’ fees in a divorce based on fault. For instance, a spouse acting in bad faith may drag out the case and increase the attorneys’ fees of the innocent spouse. Bad faith behavior could be evidenced by a spouse making false allegations, failing to negotiate, hiding assets, or refusing to produce documents. In many cases, bad faith behavior is not enough to prevent an attorney from receiving an award of attorney’s fees. 

Using marital funds to pay for legal fees in a divorce 

The courts have largely rejected the notion of a husband using marital assets for his attorney’s fees. However, in some cases, the court may grant an injunction preventing a husband from using marital assets for his own legal fees. In these cases, the spouse who seeks the injunction must expressly state that his lawyer cannot use marital assets for his own legal services. 

In other cases, the court may require one spouse to pay for another spouse’s legal expenses. In Berenberg v. Berenberg, for example, the less-monied spouse was ordered to pay for the attorney fees of his disapproving spouse. Using marital funds to pay for attorney fees may also be permitted when a spouse has a substantial amount of assets. For example, a spouse with a large estate may have the assets to pay for another spouse’s attorney. 

Using credit cards or loans to pay for legal fees in a divorce 

You can pay your attorney’s fees with a credit card, but this can be risky. Your credit limit may be low, and if you use the card to pay for your divorce, you could run up a high interest rate. Depending on the credit card company, you may be able to borrow more money than you need. The key is to set up a new account and not use the credit card to pay for divorce-related expenses. 

In cases where the other party is willing to fund your divorce, you can use a home equity line of credit. This is an option if your home will be sold or if one partner is buying out the other. Using your home equity line of credit is a short-term interest-only lending option that is available to most people. Your solicitor may be able to negotiate payment terms for you to make the process easier for both parties.