Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Divorce in Missoula? 

Divorce proceedings are often lengthy and costly, requiring court filings, mediation, and even court hearings. When divorce is a difficult and stressful time for your family, retaining an experienced attorney to guide you through the process can make all the difference. If you are considering filing for a divorce in Missoula, contact the Montana family lawyers at Bulman Jones & Cook PLLC for a free consultation to learn about your legal options. 

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The Cost of Divorce: Who Pays the Lawyer Fees?

The total cost of your divorce will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of your case, your financial resources, and the type of lawyer you hire. Some attorneys offer flat fees, while others charge by the hour. The total cost of your divorce will also vary depending on your marital status, the type of property you own, and any other considerations that may be relevant to your specific situation. 

Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Collaborative Divorce?

In a collaborative divorce, the parties negotiate their own legal fees as part of a settlement agreement. This can help reduce the cost of your divorce and keep you out of the courtroom. 

How Does a Judge Determine Who Pays the Attorney Fees?

A judge may decide to award or deny attorney fees in a divorce case on a discretionary basis. This means that the judge makes the decision to award or deny a party’s attorney fees after examining the financial resources of the parties and their respective positions. 

Typically, the judge will order attorney fees only if a party can show that the other party does not have enough income or assets to support the case. This evaluation takes into account all sources of income, not just regular income from a job. In addition, a court considers how much a spouse would be able to earn from other sources, such as a boarder who rents out a room in the former home. 

When a judge or commissioner orders attorney fees, it is usually done in a lump sum rather than a monthly obligation. This is a reflection of the fact that judges and commissioners are more likely to give fee awards if the party asking for them can show a sufficient source of readily available funds to cover the cost of the attorney. 

In other words, the requesting spouse needs to have enough money saved up to be able to pay the attorney for the duration of the case. In the event that one party does not have enough money to cover their attorney fees, the other party may be able to borrow the necessary amount and pay it back in installments over a period of time. 

The amount of a fee award will also be based on the length of the case, as well as the complexities of the particular issues and any other special circumstances. The judge will take into account whether a fee award will cause an undue hardship on the paying party and will make that consideration in light of the parties’ long-term goals.