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Who Pays Attorney Fees During a Divorce

Typically, the person who hires a divorce attorney in Alexander City pays that attorney’s fees. Yet the court can order their former partner to pay their attorney’s fees. In Alabama, the court often requires the spouse with a higher income to pay the attorney’s fees for the spouse with the lower income. Attorneys Fees in Divorce

Factors the court will consider include: 

  • the misconduct or lack of misconduct of each spouse
  • both spouses’ incomes and financial abilities to pay their own attorney’s fees 
  • the length of the divorce or trial 
  • whether custody of minor children was an issue in the divorce
  • the time necessary to prepare for trial and
  • the services that the attorney seeking legal fees provided.

The Alabama Code provides that for a court to order a payment of attorney fees in a Shelby County divorce, the court must have made a contempt of court citation against either party. The court may award a reasonable sum for attorney’s fees. The court may order a spouse to pay attorney’s fees in an action for divorce or for the recovery of alimony, maintenance, or support in which a judgment of divorce has been issued or is pending.

When a spouse has significant earnings or assets but is hiding them, the former partner and their attorney will need to show what the person is actually earning or has secured. The former partner and their divorce attorney in Anniston will need to show the court that their spouse should be sanctioned, or penalized, for not making a full financial disclosure to them and to the court. 

A person and their Birmingham divorce attorney may need to hire a forensic accountant to determine how their spouse hid earnings or assets. They may subpoena documents such as pay stubs, bank account statements, payments from the sale of real estate or personal property, investment reports, payments to insurers, and contributions to health savings plans or retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s.

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