Divorce can be expensive between the division of assets, moving to a new place, or attorney's fees, the financial cost can be very high. If you hire a lawyer to help with your case, will your spouse pay the attorney fees? Keep reading to find out.
Divorce Lawyer Fees in New Jersey
Law firms have different policies regarding attorney fees for divorce cases, so it's important to be familiar with their rates before scheduling a consultation. Fees can be based on many factors, from the length of the case to the final settlement.
As for New Jersey divorce court judges, they do have the power to order that either party pay the other's attorney fees. Whether the case is a matter of divorce, dissolution of civil union, nullity, or another legal matter, the judge may choose to include costs as a part of the settlement.
In most cases, this may happen if there is a claim or circumstance that would render it improbable for a spouse to pay the fees and maintain a standard of living. Ultimately, the final decision to order one spouse to pay the other's attorney fees is up to the judge – they will evaluate the case and determine whether an award of attorney fees is appropriate.
As mentioned in the previous section, judges hand the matter of attorney's fees on a case-by-case basis. There are no guarantees that the judge will order your spouse to pay them. Below are some factors that may affect whether the judge issues an order to pay fees.
- Unnecessary complications: If a spouse needlessly complicates the divorce proceedings forcing the other spouse to incur more attorney fees, the judge may see merit in ordering the spouse to pay their costs once the case is over.
- Income: When filing a divorce case, both spouses must provide income information. This helps the judge to evaluate the division of assets, potential financial barriers to child custody, and the need for alimony. If one spouse's income is not enough to support a reasonable standard of living, the judge may award them alimony and/or attorney fee payment.
- Property and assets: During a divorce, assets are separated into marital property and individual property. If personal assets are not valuable enough, that spouse may have more favor with the judge concerning alimony and fee payment.
- Access: Many couples join bank accounts after marriage. While there is no harm in joining accounts, separating those assets may be difficult during a divorce. If one spouse has access to all of the accounts and investments while the other does not, the judge is more likely to consider an award of attorney fees.
Every Case Is Unique
There are no formulas to divorce. Laws provide guidance and precedent, but every divorce case also stands alone because each couple is unique. Because of this, judges must consider many factors when settling a divorce or dissolution of a civil union.
Income, property, access, and roadblocks influence their decision, but it can be challenging to make the final call even with all of the documentation at hand. Generally, the spouse with the fewest means to support themselves is more likely to get their attorney fees paid by their ex, but that is still not guaranteed.
The financial cost of divorce is high, but sometimes the emotional cost can be higher. At DeTommaso Law Group, LLC, we understand how devastating these cases can be, so we offer comprehensive legal support so you can focus on a new future.
Contact DeTommaso Law Group, LLC and entrust your case to an award-winning team of experienced legal professionals.