Can a Court Award Attorney’s Fees in a Divorce?
When most people think about seeking attorney’s fees in a court case, they are often thinking about civil cases in which they are suing another party for damages. However, attorney’s fees also may be available in DuPage County divorce cases. To be clear, attorney’s fees are not awarded in a divorce case because one of the parties “wins” the case, but rather based on one party’s ability to pay and the other party’s inability to pay. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs the issue of attorney’s fees in divorces, and we want to provide you with more information about this topic.
In the meantime, if you need assistance with your divorce, one of the dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can speak with you today. We regularly provide counsel to members of the DuPage County Muslim community and can discuss your options for moving forward with your divorce.
Interim Attorney’s Fees in a DuPage County Divorce
When one party is seeking interim attorney’s fees in a divorce case in Illinois, that party must file a petition for interim attorney’s fees and costs. In order to be eligible to receive interim attorney’s fees—which means attorney’s fees while the divorce is ongoing—the party seeking the fees must be able to show that relevant factors exist for awarding attorney’s fees. The IMDMA says that the court shall consider all relevant factors. It cites the following, among others:
- Income and property of each party
- Needs of each party
- Realistic earning capacity of each party
- Degree of complexity of issues in the divorce (e.g., complex property division, allocation of parental responsibilities, need for expert witnesses);
- Each party’s access to relevant information
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable
To be clear, interim attorney’s fees are typically awarded in divorce cases where one party cannot afford reasonable attorney’s fees because the other party largely controlled the finances or was the primary earner during the marriage (and, as a result, has the resources to provide interim attorney’s fees).
Adjusting for Paid Attorney’s Fees in the Property Division Process
In some cases, the amount of interim attorney’s fees and costs paid do not end up being equal in terms of property division. If the court determines that one of the parties received more of the marital assets in the form of interim attorney’s fees and costs than would be appropriate according to equitable distribution, then the property division process can adjust for the amount of interim attorney’s fees paid.
Contact an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Attorney for Assistance
Attorney’s fees can be contentious and complex in an Illinois divorce. Whether you are the party who needs to seek interim attorney’s fees in your divorce or you are the party with concerns about having to pay interim attorney’s fees, our attorneys can help. An experienced Oakbrook Terrace divorce lawyer at our firm can discuss your case with you today. We have years of experience serving the Muslim community in DuPage County with a wide variety of family law matters. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office today online or by phone at 630-909-9114.