Although it may be true that “no good marriage ends in divorce,” it is just as true that the process can be a strain both emotionally and financially. Not only are you dividing your assets, but each side will have attorney’s fees for just about everything the divorce involves.
Even though California is a no-fault state for divorce, some situations—such as infidelity or excessive spending—place the blame squarely on one party’s shoulders. If your spouse’s actions are the cause of your divorce, you might think it’s only fair that he pays the legal fees. However, that’s not how it works. Unless there are specific extenuating circumstances, the judge will order that each party pay their own legal fees.
One of the most frequently asked questions in divorce cases is, “Can I get my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees?” The majority of family law attorneys charge by the hour, which means you can be billed for time your attorney spends on phone calls, meetings, emails, legal research, and court appearances in their crafting the best individualized approach and arguments for your case.
What Are the Exceptions?
You have the right to ask the judge to order your ex to pay your legal fees if you would be unable to hire a lawyer otherwise. The California courts recognize the need to level the playing field so both sides can have access to a lawyer. So, if there is an economic disparity between the parties, the judge can order the party with more money to pay the other party’s legal fees. This request is made in writing to the court.
How Do I Ask for Attorney’s Fees?
The dependent spouse must be the side to petition the court and ask for an award of attorney’s fees from the judge. It is generally done as soon as possible in the beginning of a divorce case so that the dependent spouse can obtain quality legal counsel for the remainder of their case.
Advance on Equitable Distribution
If a spouse does not qualify for a full or partial award of attorney’s, there is still another option to make paying divorce attorney’s fees feasible. A spouse can petition the court to receive an advance on their portion of equitable distribution in the beginning of a divorce case to pay for attorney’s fees.
WE WILL BE THERE WHEN YOU CALL
Divorce cases are very difficult and complex. You need an experienced Los Angeles Family Attorney to guide you through the legal process. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
We are very central to all of Long Beach, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Newport Beach; and regularly serve all of Los Angeles.
This is intended as general advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Each situation is unique and requires specific analysis of relevant contracts, facts and legal obligations.