I Want to Hire a Divorce Attorney But Cannot Afford One: Can the Court Tell My Spouse to Pay?

Posted on in Illinois Family Law

IL divorce lawyerThere are many situations in which one of the spouses in a divorce case needs assistance from an experienced lawyer but cannot afford the same type of attorney or firm that his or her spouse will likely be able to afford. In many cases, this situation arises when one of the spouses was the primary breadwinner or earner in the family and the other spouse was a stay-at-home parent or has a job that pays significantly less money. Yet when issues of property division and child custody are at stake, we know how critical it is to have an experienced DuPage County family law attorney on your side who can represent you and your interests. Accordingly, we know that there are many DuPage County residents who are anticipating a divorce but cannot afford a divorce lawyer and are wondering whether they can require their spouse to pay for their attorney.

Although it might not immediately seem logical that one spouse could ask the other spouse to pay for his or her DuPage County divorce attorney, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does in fact allow a spouse to seek what are known as “interim attorney’s fees” in a divorce case. We want to provide you with more information about how this process works.

When Can I Seek Interim Attorney’s Fees?

If your spouse was the primary earner in your marriage or is a higher earner than you, it can be difficult to figure out how you will pay for an experienced family lawyer to represent you in the divorce case. Depending upon the specific facts of your situation, you may be able to ask the court for interim attorney’s fees. Divorce cases can get expensive and lengthy, especially when the parties are anticipating a contested divorce.

If the court grants your request for interim attorney’s fees, your spouse can be responsible for paying your divorce lawyer’s fees during the divorce. To be clear, you will not have to wait to seek attorney’s fees until your case is finished or even well underway. Rather, you can hire experienced counsel from the start when the court grants your request for interim attorney’s fees.

When Are Interim Attorney’s Fees Appropriate?

How does the court decide if interim attorney’s fees are appropriate? In general, the IMDMA provides a long list of factors that the court can consider in deciding whether to award interim attorney’s fees. Some of those factors include but are not limited to: the parties’ income, the parties’ needs, the parties’ earning capacities, the standard of living during the marriage, and the complexity of the divorce case.

If you do want to seek interim attorney’s fees, it is critical to understand that you need to ask for them—the court will not automatically consider whether interim attorney’s fees should be awarded. Accordingly, you will need to file a petition for interim attorney’s fees and costs under the IMDMA.

Seek Advice from an Oakbrook Terrace Family Lawyer

When you have questions or concerns about paying for your divorce and seeking interim attorney’s fees, the dedicated Oakbrook Terrace family law attorneys at our firm can help. We have been serving the DuPage County Muslim community for years and can assist you with your divorce. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call us at 630-909-9114.




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