Getting your spouse to pay for your lawyer

It seems like no one ever wants to pay for their own divorce lawyer.  I often get asked if the other spouse can reimburse them for counsel fees.  Since almost every case settles, that is something the other side would have to agree to.  I suggest you speak to your lawyer about that but it rarely happens.

The more important issue is what to do if you cannot afford a lawyer because your spouse is the one with all the money.  In New Jersey, you can file a motion (through a lawyer or on your own) to have the Court order your spouse to pay for your counsel fees subject to equitable distribution.  That means that while the spouse must give you the money now, you may have to pay that back, usually via an offset, at final settlement. 

Of course, if your spouse already has a lawyer, the best course of action may be to have your prospective lawyer call the other lawyer to try to resolve this out of court. 

Finally, in order for all of this  to work, you must show that you cannot afford a lawyer.  Bringing this motion just because your spouse makes more than you may be a very bad idea if it is shown that you have the income/assets to afford representation.

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Posted on January 16, 2010, in Articles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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