It’s no secret–paying for an attorney for divorce is expensive, especially if it is a contested divorce. For many people, a contested divorce can seem like a true financial hardship. If you are beginning the divorce process, you may want to know if there is any way you can get out of paying and make your former spouse pay for the fees instead.
In an uncontested divorce, the fees will certainly be lower and more affordable. However, a contested divorce often requires multiple court appearances from your attorney and time-consuming attorney preparation.
In the state of Georgia, it is typical for each party to pay for his or her own attorney’s fees. However, for spouse’s who have no access to the marital assets, there is protection in place. For example, if all of the marital bank accounts are in the wife’s name, the husband is unable to make any withdrawals or sign checks. So, he would be unable to pay for an attorney. Then husband could make a motion for attorney’s fees, and would be able to utilize the martial accounts to pay for the proper representation in the court.
What Does Georgia Law Say?
Furthermore, Georgia law states: the grant of attorney’s fees should be within the sound discretion of the court as long as the court considers the financial situations of each party. The awarding of attorney fees can happen in one of two ways. One way is in a lump sum when divorce proceedings are complete, or at a hearing. The order can be enforced by an action for contempt if the spouse with the assets does not comply.
Here are some other factors determining who pays for attorney’s fees:
- If a spouse earns a lot more than the other spouse, it is unfair for the wealthy spouse to pay for the best attorney, while the other spouse can’t afford one. In some situations, a court order requires the wealthier spouse to pay for the attorney fees and litigation costs.
- In other cases, a judge might order the liquidation of marital assets to pay for legal expenses.
- While a cheating spouse isn’t required to pay the fees for the wronged spouse, if the cheating spouse drags out the divorce proceedings by being uncooperative or filing unnecessary motions, some courts may order he pays the legal fees.
If you are struggling to hire an attorney for financial reasons, you may have some options. It is important to talk to a family law attorney to learn what those options are, so you can move forward. The team at Reeder Law Firm is here to help you during this time. Call (770) 475-2521 to contact us today to discuss your options regarding who will pay for an attorney for divorce.