Can I Make My Spouse Pay for Our Divorce?

Tom GilbertOne of the main concerns people have concerning a potential divorce is the cost.  While price is just one of the factors to consider when selecting a New Jersey family law firm to represent you, it is a necessary and important consideration because the final cost of your divorce matter can be fact dependent on each spouse’s willingness to cooperate and reach a resolution on the outstanding issues, among other things.  Unfortunately, sometimes the financial burden of a divorce action is made worse when one spouse was consistently the wage earner during the course of the marriage while the other spouse earned significantly less or stayed home to tend to the home and cannot afford the same level of representation.

To address this concern, New Jersey courts have the authority to award counsel fees in a family action both during the course of the divorce proceeding and at the conclusion of any action for divorce, nullity, support, alimony, custody, visitation,equitable distribution, separate maintenance, and enforcement of interspousal agreements.  Courts may also order one spouse to pay the legal retainer for the other when their respective financial circumstances would make such an award reasonable. When deciding whether to grant this type of relief, the court reviews:

The financial ability of each spouse;

The ability of each spouse to pay their own legal fees and/or to contribute to the other spouse’s legal fees;

Whether both spouses are proceeding reasonably and in good faith;

The amount of fees incurred by both spouses;

The number and amount of any fees previously awarded;

The results obtained;

Whether legal costs were incurred to enforce existing orders or to compel discovery; and

Any other factor bearing on the fairness of an award.

No one should feel like they have to give in to their spouse’s demands simply because they have fewer financial resources.  The attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C., have years of experience with requesting and establishing these litigation funds for divorce in New Jersey.  If you would like to speak with one of our experienced New Jersey family law attorneys about establishing a litigation fund for divorce please call 908-575-9777, and we would be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss the issue with you.