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Posted on July 20, 2017

Divorce is expensive. Can’t the court order my spouse to pay my attorney fees?

If you want to ask the court to order your spouse to pay any portion of your legal fees, be sure to discuss this with your attorney at the first opportunity. Most lawyers will treat the obligation for your legal fees as your obligation.

Attorney fees are considered a community debt from the time of filing until the judgment of divorce. The issue of attorney fees is usually addressed during the property division. If both parties have attorneys and the fees are similar, the court may order each party to pay their own attorney fees or the parties may just agree to each pay their own fees.

Louisiana allows the award of attorney fees if a party is held in contempt of court for failing to follow orders of the court. They are designed to punish a party for improper conduct and deter further bad conduct. The attorney fees awarded may not cover the cost of the attorney fees incurred.

If your case is likely to require costly experts and your spouse has a much greater ability to pay these expenses than you, talk to your lawyer about the possibility of filing a motion with the court asking your spouse to pay toward these costs while the case is pending.