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Who Pays The Attorney Fees in Divorce?

In Texas, each party is usually responsible for their own attorney’s fees, while the petitioner (the spouse who files for divorce first), is also responsible for the filing fee.

However, as Texas is a community property state, it may also be possible to argue that all attorney fees should be divided equally. That means that if one party has significantly more financial resources than the other spouse, then the Judge may order them to cover their spouse’s legal fees. Both spouses have a right to quality legal representation, and wage disparity should not prevent that.

At The Farias Law Firm, we have a long history of success when it comes to helping our clients navigate divorce proceedings and other family law matters in Houston. We are highly skilled both around the mediation table and in the courtroom and are prepared to handle all the factors of your divorce case.

The outcome of your divorce decree will impact you for many years to come, so it is essential that you have high-quality representation and are supported to feel confident about your future. At The Farias Law Firm, we will fight for your rights and will do whatever it takes to foster healthy conversations and agreements.

Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation. We will evaluate your case, answer all your questions, and provide guidance on your next steps.

Contact us today to arrange a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Houston at 713-364-3942.

Community Property and Attorney Fees

Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts acquired over the course of the marriage belong to both parties until the divorce is finalized. It also means that community property is subject to ‘just and right’ division between spouses.

In Texas, a marriage does not end until the divorce has been finalized, which means that all assets and debts, including attorney fees, are subject to fair division.

A fair division of attorney fees may look different in different circumstances. It might be just and fair for each party to cover their own fees, or if one spouse earns significantly more, then it might be just for them to cover both sets of attorney fees.

Factors That May Affect Who Pays Divorce Attorney Fees in Houston

The Judge has the final say on who pays attorney fees in Houston. They will consider each spouse’s financial circumstances, as well as their ability to earn money. If one spouse earns significantly more, then the Judge may determine that it is just and right for that spouse to pay a portion or all of the other spouse’s attorneys fees.

There are also other situations where a Judge may decide that it is just and right for one spouse to cover the other’s attorneys fees. For example, if one spouse refuses to comply with court orders such as hiding assets or refusing to comply with discovery requests.

The Process of Securing Support From Your Ex-Spouse

If you believe that your ex-spouse should cover your fees, then your divorce lawyer will help you file a request for support from the Judge. Your request will provide evidence for why you need support and where it will come from.

If you are the filing spouse, then you can ask the Judge to order your ex-spouse to pay your fees with your Original Petition for Divorce. Although you will have to pay the filing fee, it will help you make your goals clear from the outset.

Attorney fees are usually awarded at the end of a divorce. Fees are considered community assets, so both spouses will present a detailed account of their fees, and a Judge will then decide how to divide it.

However, if you are struggling to pay your attorney during the divorce process, then your attorney can help you file for interim attorney fees, which means your ex-spouse will be responsible for the incurring costs while the case is being handled. The Court could order one spouse to pay for the fees, even if it causes them to go into debt, including loans against 401(k) accounts.

Avoiding Paying for Your Ex-Spouse’s Attorney Fees

If your ex-spouse is seeking support and you don’t believe that you should have to cover their fees, then you should speak to a family law attorney. An attorney will advocate on your behalf and will investigate other ways that your ex-spouse could cover their own legal fees.

Divorce cases in Houston can be costly and time-consuming. An experienced divorce lawyer will help you navigate the process while minimizing expenses and protecting your rights and interests.

Who Pays Attorney Fees in Divorce FAQ

What if I can’t afford to pay attorney fees during the divorce process in Houston?

If you can’t afford your attorney fees during the divorce process, then your divorce lawyer can request temporary fees by filing a Motion for Interim Attorney Fees. The judge will then review your request. They will consider what costs have been accused so far, as well as the financial status of each spouse, to determine whether your ex-spouse should cover your fees.

When The Court Determines Whether to Award Attorney Fees, Will They Consider a Spouse’s Bad Behavior?

If one spouse displays bad behavior during a divorce, known as ‘bad faith’, the Judge may use this as justification to order them to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees. Examples include purposely drawing out the process, hiding assets, or refusing to follow court orders.

Can Requesting Court Costs Cause Delays?

If you request attorney fees, but your ex-spouse refuses, then it could cause delays. Therefore, it is beneficial to discuss the decision with your attorney, who can also help you and your ex-spouse negotiate an agreement. When you and your spouse can negotiate and minimize court involvement, it can save you time and money.

How can an experienced Houston, family law attorney help you?

Navigating divorce in Houston is complex, and lawyer fees should not discourage you from seeking representation. The decisions made in a divorce decree, such as those involving child custody, property division, child support, and spousal support, are legally binding. The outcome of these decisions will likely have a big impact on your future, so you should ensure that everything possible is done to protect your rights and interests.

Your attorney will help secure the best possible outcome in your case. An experienced divorce attorney will be a skilled mediator as well as a litigator. This means that they will help you and your ex-spouse come to amicable agreements, and when this is not possible, they will be prepared to fight for your interests in court.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Houston Today

At The Farias Law Firm, we are committed to helping clients achieve their goals. We prioritize mediation and are prepared to negotiate complex and high-conflict situations. However, we are also skilled litigators, and if we need to, we will be prepared to take your case to court.

Call us at 713-364-3942.