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Who Pays?

Divorce: Who Pays?

The cost of divorce varies from couple to couple. The more complex the issues in a divorce the longer it will take to sort through, increasing the overall cost. Divorce can be extremely expensive, especially when it is contested. When spouses are faced with a myriad of other financial concerns, who pays for what in the divorce can also be a point of contention.

In most cases, each spouse is responsible for paying his or her own legal fees. However, there are exceptions and in some cases, the court will order one spouse to pay a portion of or the total fees and costs of the other. This is sometimes the case when one spouse earns considerably more than the other. However, you cannot expect this to occur, so it’s important for you to consider how you will pay your legal fees. It’s important to have a plan in place for making ends meet during this challenging time.

There are also instances in which the court orders the liquidation of marital assets to pay legal expenses. This means your attorney’s fees would be paid from the sale of the family home or vehicle or other asset.

It’s also important to understand that fault issues in a divorce don’t affect who pays. For example, if you are divorcing because your spouse committed adultery, you shouldn’t expect the court to require him or her to pay your legal fees. However, there are instances in which the court determines one spouse is extending the length of time it takes to end the marriage by filing motions and making the process more difficult than necessary. In those cases the court might order that spouse to pay a portion of the other spouse’s legal fees.

Can Divorce Attorneys Work on a Contingency Basis?

Attorneys are not legally permitted to work on a contingency basis in divorce cases. Your divorce settlement should not affect the amount of money your attorney charges you. If an attorney proposes payment on a contingency basis in a divorce case, your best bet is to continue searching for an attorney.

What Should I Do If I Don’t Think I Can Afford a Divorce Attorney?

One of the scariest things that can occur during a divorce is not being able to afford an attorney. It is especially scary if your spouse has hired an expensive attorney known for being aggressive. You have options, but it’s important you understand the consequences of those actions before moving forward.

For instance, you might be able to liquidate an asset, such as your retirement account, to help pay for the divorce. However, before doing so, make sure you understand the tax consequences. Also, know your spouse might ultimately have a right to some of that money.

You might also consider taking out a loan. This is a tough pill to swallow for some, but if the money ensures you can pay for legal services and have someone on your side to protect your rights, it could benefit you in the long run. Just remember you’ll be responsible for the loan payments in the future.

The cost of divorce and how that divorce is paid for varies from case to case. If you are concerned about legal fees associated with your divorce, discuss your concerns with any attorneys with whom you consult. Do your best to have a plan in place that addresses the worse case scenario when it comes to payment.

Do you have questions about paying for divorce? Are you ready to speak to someone about moving forward with divorce, contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at (813) 405-1509 or use the online contact form.

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