Divorce can be a very draining and difficult process, both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, for dependent spouses there may be opportunity to recover for attorney's fees in a divorce proceeding.
In general, a final judgment in a divorce does not necessarily mean that a dependent spouse will be awarded attorney's fees. Typically, the ability to recover attorney's fees is left to the discretion of the court in which the divorce was made final. In some states, statutes may award attorney's fees whether or not judgment was entered on behalf of the spouse or not.
There may be instances where you may be unable to await final judgment because you cannot afford an attorney during the divorce proceedings. Know, that in these cirumstances, the law likes to enable each party to have access to legal representation in order preserve all of his/her rights. Thus, the court may award money necessary for one spouse to maintain a divorce proceeding, including attorney's fees.
The power of a court to award money may be dependent upon statute or may rest with the court regardless of statutory allowances. Again, however, the ability to receive money to file for divorce and pay for an attorney will be left to the discretion of the court in which the divorce was brought unless otherwise specified in a statute.
Unlike other civil cases where attorney's fees may be awarded to the prevailing party, in divorce proceedings the attorney's fees are usually awarded to the party in greater economic need. In determining whether money should be provided, courts have applied these factors:
If you can afford an attorney and need to file for divorce, it is unlikely the court will make the other spouse pay for your attorney fees. However, if you need to file for divorce but can't afford an attorney, you may be able to hire the attorney you want and have the other spouse pay for him/her. Talk to a good family law attorney about your options.
Last Modified: 04-14-2016 03:11 AM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.