Divorce can be an emotionally draining and financially challenging process. From dividing assets to determining child custody, there are countless aspects that need careful consideration. But what about the fees you owe your Tomball divorce attorney?
Here, we will explain how a skilled divorce lawyer may be able to convince the judge to order your spouse to pay some or all your attorney’s fees.
Who Is Responsible for Paying Attorney Fees in a Divorce?
Typically, you and your spouse will be responsible for your own attorney fees. However, there are times during the divorce process when the court may order one spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other spouse.
When seeking an order to have your spouse pay your attorney fees, your Tomball divorce lawyer should be prepared to present evidence to the court about your financial situation and your spouse’s financial resources.
Your attorney should also be prepared to show that you have made a good faith effort to negotiate an agreement with your spouse about payment of attorney fees.
What Will the Court Consider When Deciding Who Should Pay Attorney Fees?
The court will consider many factors when making a decision about who will pay attorney fees. These include:
- Each spouse’s financial resources
- The ability of each spouse to earn an income
- The ability of each spouse to pay his or her own attorney fees
- Whether one spouse has been violent or abusive during the divorce process
- Whether one spouse has hidden assets or engaged in other deceptive practices during the divorce process
If one spouse has significantly more assets than the other, they may be ordered to pay a larger portion or even all the attorney fees.
The court will also consider the reasonableness of the attorney fees incurred by each spouse. If one spouse has incurred significantly higher attorney fees due to their own actions (e.g., dragging out the divorce proceedings), then the court may order that spouse to pay a larger portion of the overall attorney fees.
The court will also take into account any factors that would make it unjust or unfair to require one spouse to pay all or a significant portion of the attorney fees. For example, if one spouse is facing significant financial hardship after the divorce, the court may order that their spouse help them with some of their attorney fees.
What if the Court Orders Your Spouse to Pay Your Divorce Lawyer’s Fees and They Refuse?
If the court orders your spouse to pay your attorney fees and they refuse, your divorce lawyer may be able to file a motion asking the judge to hold your spouse in contempt of court.. This would require your attorney to show that the court ordered your spouse to pay your attorney fees and that they have the ability to do so.
If your lawyer is successful in proving contempt of court, your spouse could be fined or even jailed.
If your spouse is not found in contempt of court, your attorney may seek other methods of enforcing a court order.
What Options of Enforcement Are Available to Your Divorce Attorney?
Your Tomball divorce attorney can file an “Application for Order to Enforce Final Decree” with the court that issued the original decree. The court may authorize you to take advantage of certain enforcement options.
These enforcement options may include:
- Garnishing wages
- Placing liens on property or assets
- Filing a civil lawsuit against your spouse
Ideally, it won’t come to this. Your divorce attorney will try to negotiate payment of your attorney’s fees with your spouse’s lawyer.
If the order to pay these fees comes before the final divorce is completed, your lawyer can work payment into the division of marital assets.
For example, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse was ordered to pay $10,000 toward your attorney’s fees, your attorney can arrange to have you receive an extra $10,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the marital home.
Contact an Experienced Tomball Divorce Attorney Today
It is important to remember that when it comes to attorney fees in a divorce, the final decision ultimately rests in the hands of the court. Your Tomball divorce lawyer can advise you on how best to seek reimbursement from your spouse and may be willing to negotiate an agreement on your behalf. Ultimately, however, only a judge has the authority to order one party or the other to pay for legal expenses during a divorce case.
We suggest you contact our office today at 281-351-7897 and discuss your case. This will give you a better idea of whether you’re truly ready to file for divorce. It will also help you understand what the divorce process entails and what the costs will be.