Aside from being emotional and overwhelming, a divorce can be expensive. A common issue between spouses in the process of divorce is attorney fees and who pays what. So who pays lawyer fees in a divorce?
Texas Is a Community Property State
Property acquired during the marriage is considered community property belonging to both spouses. In a community property state, assets earned and debt accrued during the marriage are subject to “just and right” division in a divorce.
Since Texas does not recognize legal separation, you are married until your divorce is finalized. This means that all debt, including attorney fees in a divorce, is considered community property and is subject to division.
Considerations for Attorney Fees
Before awarding any attorney fees, a judge must consider the community property as well as both parties’ financial status. If one spouse makes significantly more than the other, a court may find it fair for the more financially stable spouse to pay some or all of the other’s fees.
Aside from finances, the court may award attorney fees if one of the spouses acts in bad faith. For example, if your spouse does not comply with discovery requests or refuses to cooperate with court orders, they may be considered to be acting in bad faith. As a result, a judge may order your attorney fees to be paid by your spouse.
Requesting Temporary Fees
During the divorce, if one party cannot pay, their attorney may file a Motion for Interim Attorney Fees. During this motion, the judge will review the attorney fees accrued and the resources each party has to pay. They will then make a decision as to whether one spouse should pay the other’s legal expenses.
Final Property Settlement
Attorney fees are also taken into consideration at the end of the divorce. Since these fees are community debt, both parties must present all of their attorney fees up until the conclusion of the divorce.
Divorce fees are considered when the court conducts the division of jointly owned marital property and assets. The court may award reasonable attorney fees and expenses as necessary to ensure fairness.
A Texas Divorce Attorney
Divorces can be lengthy and expensive. You must have a skilled attorney to help you navigate the process and help you fight for the best possible outcome. An experienced Texas divorce attorney will know how to handle your case and all associated expenses.
The Law Office of Ben Carrasco is your best ally in this battle. As an Austin native, I am always ready and willing to serve my Austin community. I thoroughly enjoy being able to make a difference in my client’s lives during such a trying time. Contact me today, and let’s discuss how I can help you.