Will I Have to Pay for My Former Spouse’s Divorce Fees?

Divorces tend to be more expensive when spouses cannot come to an agreement without assistance from their lawyers. Attorney’s fees can add up on both sides.

The average cost of divorce in the United States is about $8,000 per spouse. If you are getting a divorce in Texas, here’s how it works.

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Who decides how the divorce fees will be paid?

The judge that hears the case will decide how these fees are divided between the two parties. In most cases, the judge rules that each party will pay their own fees for their family attorney. However, it’s also possible for the judge to require one spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. There are no set guidelines,so the final ruling is made at the judge’s discretion and often unpredictable.

Why would I have to pay for both lawyers?

Typically, you do not have to pay both family law attorneys. When one spouse must pay the legal fees of the other spouse, it’s usually because they have been negligent about following the rules in the divorce case. If you are uncooperative and do not obey directives issued by the court, you may find yourself paying the price.

Additionally, if your spouse doesn’t have any income or access to cash, you will most likely be ordered by the court to pay their legal fees. If you can afford a retainer for an attorney, the money is most likely joint property and will be used to pay the retainer for them.

If neither one of you has any income or cash, you will have to work things out another way. You can check with legal aid, and see if they can represent you or recommend a lawyer that will work pro bono. You can reach an agreement with your spouse on how to divide any assets and debts. If you agree on the custody arrangements, visitation, property settlement, and support, then you do not need to go to court.

These fees are part of the debts to be divided

As part of the joint assets and corresponding debts, the fees are usually split between the parties in whatever way the judge feels is “just and right.” The best way to avoid getting hit with more than what you feel is fair is to make sure that you comply with temporary orders and stay out of trouble with the judge.

Until you get your final divorce decree, all the money accumulated during the marriage is joint property. Therefore, the court doesn’t consider it a case of you having to pay with your personal cash. It deems the supply of cash to belong to both of you at that point. Until the assets are divided through final decree, they are shared.

Is this division fair?

If you are concerned that you will be mistreated by the courts and pay more than you should, then hire a lawyer. A good divorce attorney will guarantee that you’re treated fairly. Just be sure to listen and take your attorney’s advice.