If you are seeking a divorce in Illinois, you may have questions about who is responsible for paying attorney’s fees. Many people believe that it is only fair that the party whose actions led to the divorce, or who first filed for divorce, should be responsible for the attorney’s fees.
This is not always the case though. Ultimately, the decision about attorney’s fees is often left to the court's discretion. However, your divorce lawyer can certainly request that the judge assign the attorney’s fees - entirely or in part - to your spouse.
Factors the Court May Consider in Assigning Fees
While the court is not going to consider fault in terms of deciding the payment of attorney’s fees, the judge may take into consideration each spouse's income and means, as stated in 750 ILCS 5/508. For instance, if one spouse was primarily a stay-at-home parent and the other earned the majority of the income, the court may find that each party should pay a percentage of the attorney’s fees in relation to their proportion of income.
The court may also consider whether the parties have reached an agreement regarding attorney’s fees, though the judge is not obligated to approve the agreed-upon arrangement if it seems unjust. Each spouse's behavior and motivations throughout the divorce proceedings may also influence the court when deciding how to divvy up attorney’s fees.
One unique aspect of the Illinois law governing attorney’s fees in divorce cases is the provision that allows a spouse who lacks the means to hire a divorce lawyer to ask the court to order the spouse in control of the family income and assets to pay for the lawyer, at least in the interim. If you are considering divorce but do not have access to funds to pay legal fees, consult an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer who can help you obtain an order for interim fees.
Consult an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Attorney
A skilled attorney with our firm will fight to show the court that your spouse should bear the responsibility of paying attorney’s fees for both parties, if we believe the request for attorney’s fees is justified. We will also request that the judge take into account the financial situation of both parties, and other factors, in determining who pays attorney’s fees, or in what proportion.
Please do not hesitate to request a consultation with one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys. We understand that divorce proceedings bring about much emotional and financial stress, and that worrying about unmanageable legal fees only makes this difficult season of your life that much more stressful. We have successfully represented many clients concerned about paying attorney’s fees and are committed to keeping legal fees at a minimum while still providing excellent service.