Who pays for divorce attorney fees in New Jersey?

divorce attorney fees

Divorces are financial burdens and can severely overwhelm anyone going through the intricate legal process. In today’s world, divorces can be outrageously expensive. It is exceptionally hard for individuals to afford them alone. In certain circumstances, one spouse may rely on the other spouse’s income. This puts them at a financial disadvantage. If the court thinks your circumstances are financially unfair, the court may require your spouse to pay your divorce attorney fees. Numerous factors come into play, but ultimately, it is up to the court whether or not your spouse will have to pay your attorney fees. If you cannot financially acquire a divorce attorney because you are at a financial disadvantage in your marriage, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted and experienced Monmouth County Divorce Attorney. We can help you request the court to have your spouse pay for some or all of your incurred divorce attorney fees. 

Can my ex force me to pay their divorce attorney fees in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the court can require a higher-earning spouse to pay for the lower-earning spouse’s divorce attorney fees if it is deemed reasonable. However, your ex cannot force you to pay for their divorce attorney fees. Nonetheless, they are legally allowed to request the court for this. The court may decide that you have to pay for all of the fees they’ve incurred or only certain portions. When a judge determines if an ex is responsible for paying attorney fees, they will evaluate:

  • the financial income of both parties
  • the number of fees incurred/requested to be covered
  • the ability of each party to pay legal fees
  • whether or not both parties acted in good faith during the litigation

The court will assess these factors that are pertinent to your case to determine who is responsible for paying attorney fees. Courts recognize that one spouse may be unemployed or a “stay-at-home” parent, while the other spouse brings home the bacon. This can affect whether or not an individual can afford their attorney fees. The court will consider these factors and make a decision based on each party’s financial circumstances.

Will the court assess both parties’ good and bad faith during litigation?

During court proceedings, the judge will observe each spouse’s behavior. A spouse acts in good faith if they conduct themselves honestly. If a spouse is consciously dishonest, they are acting in bad faith. If a spouse acts in bad faith, the judge will use this as reasonable cause for making them pay their ex’s attorney fees. Acting in bad faith during litigation directly violates court orders. If they intentionally try to prolong litigation, attempt to hide shared marital assets, or make false accusations, it will influence the court’s decision.

In New Jersey, if you are at a financial disadvantage, the court may demand your ex pay your divorce attorney fees. Reach out to one of our exceptional team members who can help you through this difficult situation.