In many states in the USA, Family law courts are able to order one spouse to contribute to the attorney’s fees of the other spouse. This is typically done if there is a large income gap between the two spouses. In this case, judges have the authority to order the spouse with higher earnings to cover up some of the costs of the lower-earing spouse.
In some states, there is an underlying attorney fee that is awarded if one spouse cannot afford to pay for both spouses fees. In other states, the courts can order an award of attorney fees to a spouse that has a lower earning. This is often because it is clear that the spouse who earns more would be able to recover funds financially after the divorce has been finalized.
However, there are cases where neither spouse can make a sizeable income. But if there is still a difference in the earnings, the decision of the fee for the attorney could vary from state to state.
An example would be stating that in some states, courts aren’t likely to provide a request for attorney fees if the spouse who earns less will receive marital assets at some point. If those assets can then be used to generate funds to pay fees, courts wouldn’t grant the request. These assets include:
• Bank accounts.
• Retirement plan.
If a spouse who is cash-poor requires money for a lawyer upfront, the courts may allow the spouse to use a portion of the marital proper for paying off attorney fees. This should be done with the understanding that when the property is divided eventually, the other spouse would have to be reimbursed.
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