Divorce Preparation-A Series: Part 5–How can I minimize the costs of attorneys’ fees in divorce?

Divorce Preparation-A Series: Part 5–How can I minimize the costs of attorneys’ fees in divorce?

Sometimes you can. Sometimes, you can’t. How is that for what appears to be a BS answer? It is, however, a reality.

It is more productive to talk about how to pay for your family law case. Let’s start with the simple issue of how do you afford an attorney when you do not have a great deal of money. The key is to look at your resources, but then to look at the model or reward vs. risk.

Resources typically include liquid assets, such as bank accounts, stocks, savings and the like. Sometimes, people will sell an asset to afford a divorce. Less obvious assets could include taking money from a home equity line of credit on your home or a loan against a retirement asset. Sometimes, folks will actually withdraw money from a retirement asset, but that can trigger all type of tax consequences so you will need to get advice before using that strategy.

Still others borrow money from family, and perhaps good friends. Borrowing from friends is not a great idea, although some friends truly don’t mind.

Let’s talk about how to finance your family law case when you are the financially dependent spouse. Sometimes, this is a multi-step process. It starts with asking the other spouse to contribute to your expenses. If the other spouse says no, then it is your divorce attorney’s turn to make a formal request of your spouse’s attorney. Let’s say that does not work either.

So next, let’s talk about a filing a motion with the Court for advance counsel fees.

When there is a large disparity in incomes, and/or when your spouse is holding onto access to the assets, so that you cannot effectively use any of your own money to pay for an attorney, you can apply to the court for your spouse to be ordered to provide you with money for interim counsel fees, as well as expert witness fees.

If all of these alternatives do not work for you, give one of the experienced family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW a call and we can brainstorm with you based on your individualized circumstances.


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