Getting a divorce can be costly, especially if there are unresolved conflicts or areas of disagreement that can only be resolved in court or if there are complex issues related to the division of marital property and debts. Certainly high conflict child custody battles can result in additional legal fees, where the best interests of a child are the priority.
While ordinarily, both parties to a divorce will pay their own legal and court costs, in some situations, a spouse may request that the other spouse pay for all or a portion of their legal expenses. If, for example, one spouse earns more than the other, a court may rule that the higher earning spouse pick up some or all of the legal expenses. This is particularly applicable in situations where a marriage is ending do to the actions of a spouse such as infidelity or when a spouse unnecessarily complicates a divorce action resulting in an extension, such as not reporting assets accurately.
In cases where both spouses have access to assets or similar income, the court is unlikely to order one spouse to pay the other’s attorney fees. However, sometimes a court can order that one spouse pay the attorney’s fees as an advance on the amount of property to be divided in the divorce. Certainly, when considering whether or not to award attorney’s fees, a judge will consider both parties’ incomes versus assets and expenses; the complexity of the case; and the attorney fees already incurred, so it is worthwhile to work with an experienced divorce attorney to see if requesting attorney’s fees are applicable.
Illinois law gives the court discretion to order a spouse to pay attorney’s fees in a divorce. If you are considering divorce, but are concerned about how to afford legal fees because you are a stay at home parent or a lesser earning spouse, contact the Libertyville divorce lawyers of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for help at 847-680-.