Who pays for the divorce? This is often the first question people ask themselves when deciding to end their marriage.
How much does a divorce cost?
Here you will learn what fees you can expect to pay and who is responsible for paying attorney fees in a divorce.
Each state has different divorce laws. In many cases, each party is responsible for paying their own legal fees in the event of a divorce. In certain circumstances, one spouse may be ordered to pay the legal fees of the other spouse.
Typically, most fees are withdrawn from mutual funds or charged to the “paid” spouse. (In non-legal terms, this usually means the spouse with the higher income.) Yet the law does not provide any definition of the term “paid spouse,” which can complicate matters when it comes to knowing who pays for the divorce.
To fully understand, it is important to have in mind the following two articles which will partially answer the question of who pays for the divorce?
– ARS 25-324. declares in paragraph A that:
“The tribunal, from time to time, after considering the financial resources of both parties and the reasonableness of the positions each party has taken throughout the proceedings, may order a party to pay a reasonable amount to the other party for costs and expenses related to the maintenance or defense of proceedings ”.
– Article 2030 of the Family Code, often referred to as the “need and capacity” law:
“It aims to create a ‘level playing field’ so that one spouse cannot take advantage of the other simply because one has more money than the other. The law works to achieve “parity” or fairness in cases of disparity or difference in income, the parties can therefore retain the services of an independent lawyer to represent them in the context of the divorce proceedings ”.
How to establish the need and the capacity?
The court assesses for each of the parties, the income, assets, needs and ability to pay attorney fees. If the court finds that one party needs funds to maintain legal representation and the other has the capacity to pay their own fees plus the legal costs of the other spouse, then an amount of fees and expenses will be ordered by the Tribunal.
How much does a divorce cost?
The national average cost of divorce is around $ 15,000 per person. The cost includes legal fees, court costs, and the cost of hiring outside experts if needed (a child care appraiser or real estate appraiser, in the case of the sale of the couple’s house. ).
The cost shown above is still an average estimate. In reality these costs can vary depending on several factors:
- If the divorce is contested or uncontested
- The hourly rate of lawyers in relation to advance fees
- Where the divorce is filed and the local filing fees
- Child care
- Childcare assessment
We make a brief reminder on the difference to be made between an uncontested or contested divorce because the consequences are not the same.
1- An uncontested divorce:
If you and your spouse are in agreement on major issues, no matter how many, you can file an uncontested divorce – the cheapest – which could cost you even less than $ 500 if you draft and file your papers. of divorce. All states charge their fees for the divorce, even an uncontested filing, so a precise cost is not predictable
2- A contested divorce:
When using a divorce lawyer (which is recommended in this case):
This is because there are significant financial issues to share, or child custody to arrange, or child support or alimony to decide.
How do I know if I can receive an alimony?
A person is considered a spouse eligible to receive alimony after separation if the court determines that the spouse is largely dependent on the other for maintenance and alimony.
The most commonly used example is a stay-at-home parent who sacrificed their earning potential or career to raise the children of the marriage and maintain the household. However, working spouses can also be considered as dependent spouses.
The use of a divorce lawyer necessarily increases the cost for one or the other party. With a lawyer, your divorce can cost you anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. This rate will vary depending on how much time your lawyer will spend on finalizing your divorce. Legal fees are typically billed by the hour and can range from several hundred dollars an hour to over $ 500.
First of all, it is essential to question your lawyer before signing the mandate.
The agency contract describes the scope of legal representation and any payment.
Also remember to ask:
• How much is the attorney’s retainer and how much do they charge per hour?
• If the paid spouse (the higher earning spouse) is responsible for legal fees, when will the spouse make this payment?
• What other costs should I be aware of?
Finally, legal fees do not include legal costs. However, a spouse can also apply.
Do I have to pay for my spouses divorce lawyer? Can I make my husband pay for my divorce attorney?
Let’s take a simple example to answer this question:
If a woman stayed home to raise a family while her husband was working, she probably doesn’t have the money to hire a lawyer. A judge can order her husband to pay his legal fees in order to guarantee him good legal representation during the divorce process.
If one of the spouses earns significantly more than the other, one of the spouses can apply for legal fees to the other spouse. If the other spouse does not agree with this, the granting of attorney fees requires a court order.
In each divorce, your marital assets as well as those acquired during the marriage are distributed as equitably as possible. It is for this reason that the judge can order that the husband pay the wife’s attorney fees as an advance on the amount of property she will receive as part of an equitable distribution of assets.
In most cases, if a wife has access to property or income, a judge cannot order the husband to pay his attorney fees.
In addition, if a woman earns more income than her husband, the court may order her to bear the costs of her husband’s divorce.
Divorce proceedings can be costly and each divorce request is unique. A judge reviews a motion for attorney fees and legal fees based on the facts of the case and the specific divorce laws of the state in which the claim is filed.
How is the court decision made to award legal fees for the divorce?
In making these decisions, the judge will consider all relevant factors, including the disposable income of the dependent spouse (i.e. total income minus necessary living expenses) and separately owned property.
The court examines the financial situation of both partners. The court does not force a partner to exhaust all financial resources before granting a reward. In fact, to determine the amount of the fees, the court takes into account:
• The financial situation of the parties
• The ability of the parties to pay their own fees or to contribute to the fees of the other party
• The reasonableness and good faith of the positions put forward by the parties during and before the trial
• The extent of the costs incurred by both parties
• Fees already allocated
• Any other factor affecting the fairness of a sentence.
So remember, when it comes to who pays for the divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, the courts often require the higher paid spouse to pay the legal fees of the lower paid spouse to ensure that they can defend themselves. But there is no guarantee. As frustrating as it can be, any legal fees awarded to either partner, like other assets and funds, can be reallocated when the case closes.
Also, remember that the law differs from state to state.
The sooner you are able to understand all of these workings, the sooner you can move forward, turn the page on this chapter of your life and begin the next.
See our article How long does it take to get a divorce if both parties agree?
See also an good general article on American rules here.