In New York divorces, the assumption that each spouse pays their own attorney is not always valid.
The court mandates that the wealthier spouse (the “monied spouse”) pays attorney fees in divorce in New York.
This ensures both spouses have equal legal representation, preventing an unfair advantage for the financially stronger party.
Considerations that Affect Division of New York Divorce Legal Fees
In divorce cases, courts consider factors like both parties’ resources.
In high-asset situations, each may be responsible for their legal fees, even with income differences.
The court might advance funds to ensure fair representation.
Courts encourage settlement through negotiation or mediation.
If one party insists on trial unreasonably or no agreement is reached, the courts favor the more cooperative spouse.
If a party delays proceedings to cause expense or inflates fees deliberately, both fees may be assigned to that spouse.
Courts discourage such behavior, regardless of income, to prevent misuse of legal fees.
Will I have to pay my spouse’s legal fees for my New York divorce?
If your income is significantly lower than your spouse’s, your attorney may seek to have them cover your fees.
Conversely, if you earn more, your spouse’s attorney may request the same.
There’s a legal presumption that fees should go to the less wealthy spouse, but your attorney can argue against this.
To avoid paying your spouse’s legal fees, cooperate during mediation, and avoid unnecessary trials. Still, you have the right to fair representation for your interests.
Your divorce lawyer will guide you to prevent mistakes that might lead to paying both sets of fees.
Getting Experienced Representation in Your Divorce Case
In New York, you might have the opportunity for your higher-earning spouse to cover your legal fees when pursuing a divorce.
New York divorces can be intricate, and regardless of your income, you deserve skilled legal representation.