Who Pays Attorney Fees for Divorces in Texas?
As you may already know, Texas is one of the few community property states. This means that in the event of divorce, assets, and liabilities are divided more by being split in half rather than by determining what is most fair or equitable. Technically, attorney’s fees would be considered a marital liability because they are debt accrued by either spouse while still legally married.
Do I Pay My Own Legal Fees, or Are They Split?
In most cases, divorcing Texans each pay their own legal fees. It’s not recommended to go out and hire the most expensive divorce lawyer you can find, thinking that your spouse will end up footing a share of the bill. Instead, hire a Fort Worth divorce lawyer who best fits your budget and move forward assuming you’ll be paying for 100% of your lawyer’s bill.
It’s also important to mention that Texas does not have “legal separation” like most other states do, so you are either married or divorced in Texas—very black and white. In other states, filing for legal separation before getting divorced provides an opportunity for a couple to untangle their finances legally-speaking before heading to divorce court.
Can I Ask a Judge to Make My Spouse Pay My Legal Fees?
Yes, this is an option in certain cases. One example in which a judge might consider ordering your spouse to pay your legal fees is if he or she makes considerably more money than you do. Another reason the Texas divorce court could order one spouse to pay the other’s legal fees is if that spouse has made the divorce more difficult or costly. An example might include hiding assets, defying the judge’s orders, and failing to provide requested documentation.
You Will Present Your Legal Bills to the Court
If you are dealing with a complicated or high net-worth divorce, you’ll no doubt find the court keeping tabs on your finances throughout the process. While less complicated divorces can often be resolved in one or two hearings, more complex divorces can last for years and end up going to trial. Clearly, the court is not expecting your financial situation to be the exact same at the beginning of that process as it will be at the end.
My Spouse Is At Fault. Do I Have to Pay for the Divorce?
If you have shown in court that your spouse committed adultery, abandoned you, was violent with someone in the household, or did something else malicious that single-handedly led to the divorce, there can be some advantages to you as the “victim.” You might be more likely to get spousal maintenance, more time and authority with your children, or a more generous division of marital assets. However, one spouse being at fault for the divorce does not necessarily mean that person will pay for your legal fees.
Ask a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer for More Information
For all of your divorce lawyer fee questions, please allow Mims, Ballew, & Hollingsworth to assist you. Our Ft. Worth, Texas, family law attorneys will advise you, guide you, strategize with you, and be by your side as an advocate through this process. Call our office or reach out using our web contact form today.