Nave News

Do I Have to Pay for My Spouse’s Attorney?

January 11, 2023


Why and How Do I Prevent Being Overcharged?

Many spouses in New York are unaware they could be ordered to hand over money to their exes even before they finalize their divorces. For example, you could be ordered to pay your spouse’s legal fees. This situation arises if your spouse cannot afford their own lawyer based on their current assets. The logic is that since they will receive at least some of your assets after the divorce, they should be able to access these assets ahead of time to pay their legal fees. But under what circumstances might this happen? And perhaps more importantly, how can you avoid being overcharged?

Here is When You Have to Pay Your Spouse’s Legal Fees

First, you must know that your spouse cannot directly require you to pay their legal fees. Instead, they need to petition the family court to compel you to do so. The court is the entity that will force you to pay these fees – not your spouse.

You should also know that if this situation arises, the “monied” spouse will always be ordered to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees. The monied spouse is the one with higher income and general financial resources. A common scenario might involve a primary breadwinner and a stay-at-home parent. During the divorce, the primary breadwinner may be required to pay for the stay-at-home parent’s legal fees because of the latter’s lack of assets.

Note that a disparity in income doesn’t necessarily equate to a disparity in financial resources. For example, the stay-at-home parent could be a beneficiary to a lucrative family trust fund. They might also receive an inheritance worth millions of dollars during the marriage and keep these funds tucked away in a bank account.

How to Find Out if You’re Being Overcharged

The cheapest and easiest way to resolve a divorce is to settle out of court. If your ex is determined to pursue a litigated divorce, you will face much higher legal fees as a result. Fortunately, the courts take this into account when determining whether a monied spouse should be forced to pay both parties’ legal fees. For example, if you force a trial despite your spouse’s willingness to settle, the court is more likely to order you to pay all legal fees.

Upon learning that their exes will be “on the hook” for their legal fees, some spouses intentionally inflate their costs in an effort to inflict as much financial damage as possible. This behavior is frowned upon by family courts in New York, and spouses who rack up their legal bills may suddenly find themselves paying for their own costs. If you think you’re being overcharged, immediately bring this matter to your divorce lawyer’s attention.

Where Can I Find a Qualified Divorce Lawyer in Syracuse?

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced divorce lawyer in Syracuse, look no further than Nave Law. We know that handing over your hard-earned money to pay your spouse’s legal fees isn’t always easy. With our help, you can ensure you’re not overcharged. We can assist with virtually every other aspect of your divorce as you strive for a positive financial outcome. Book your consultation today to get started.

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