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Can I Petition for My Ex to Pay for My Legal Fees in a Divorce?

 Posted on January 01, 2019 in Divorce

There is no question that filing for a divorce, navigating and resolving the myriad issues in a divorce, and hiring a divorce lawyer can be expensive. In fact, some divorces may result in court and legal fees that total into the tens of thousands of a dollars – a financial burden that can be a lot for a person to bear.

If you are filing for divorce in Illinois, filing a petition requesting that your spouse pay for your legal fees may be possible. Our lawyers can guide you in navigating this possibility and understanding your divorce legal fees–

Who Pays for Legal Fees in a Divorce?

In most cases, spouses are required to pay for their own legal fees in a divorce. This means that if you hire an attorney to represent you, you will have to pay your attorney’s fees out of pocket, just as your spouse will be responsible for paying for their own legal fees. Of course, there are exceptions to this.

When Your Spouse May Be Ordered to Pay Your Legal Fees

Consider a situation in which your spouse is the primary breadwinner in your family, earning a high income that you have relied on. At the time of a divorce, your spouse cuts off your access to these funds, and, because they are a high-income earner, has the ability to hire a high-powered divorce lawyer for representation. Without any of your “own” money, you’re left with few options, having to settle with a low-cost attorney, or perhaps no attorney at all.

This, clearly, would be unfair. When there is a large income gap between spouses, it is common for courts in many states to order the higher-income earner to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees on a needs-basis.

Filing a Petition and Factors Considered by the Court

If you believe that your spouse should pay your legal fees, you can file a petition for interim attorney’s fees with the court. The court’s determination is based on numerous factors, including:

  • The needs of each party;
  • The income and assets of each party;
  • The earning capacity of each party;
  • Each party’s access to information;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The complexity of the divorce case; and
  • Any other relevant information.

File Your Petition Today with Help from Our Legal Team

You deserve quality legal representation during a divorce, regardless of your income and assets. If your spouse has the resources to hire their own qualified attorney and pay your legal fees, you can file a petition with the court requesting that they do so. At the law offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our Illinois family law and divorce attorneys can help you to understand the process of filing a petition to get your spouse to pay your legal fees, and what you will need to show in order to have your petition approved. Please call us today for your initial consultation and representation you can trust.

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