Can My Spouse Pay My Attorney Fees?

Santa Barbara Divorce Law- If there is a disparity in access to pay for attorney fees (i.e. one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse), the court can order one spouse to pay your attorney fees and costs incurred in a Santa Barbara Divorce Law case. See California Family Code Section 2030. Likewise, if one spouse is the high-income earner, they should take steps in the litigation to prevent the running up of attorney fees by the other party's lawyer, fees you may be responsible for paying. 

The major factors to be considered by a court in fixing reasonable attorney fees include the nature of the litigation and its difficulty; the amount involved; the skill required and the skill employed in handling the litigation; the attention given; the success of the attorney's efforts and his or her learning, age and experience in the particular type of work demanded; the intricacies and importance of the litigation; the labor and the necessity for skilled legal training and ability in trying the cause; and the time consumed. When the trial court is informed of the extent and nature of the services rendered, it may rely on its own experience of sound discretion by the trial court in the matter of attorney fees and includes also judicial evaluation of whether counsel's skill and effort were wisely devoted to the expeditious disposition of the case. 

The standard of proof regarding need-based attorney fees is that the Court shall first make findings of whether fees and costs are appropriate; whether there is a disparity in access to funds, and whether one party is able to pay for both parties' legal representation; that only if the Court makes a finding demonstrating disparity in access and ability to pay should the Court award fees.

Can the court "comfortably" make those findings in your case? Is there a "significant disparity" between the parties' respective earning abilities and incomes? Would it have a "chilling effect" if the Court does not award one party attorney fees?

Attorney's fees are a significant cost and factor in any Santa Barbara Divorce case. Call Morales Law, P.C. for a strategy session into your Santa Barbara Divorce Law matter. We will fight for you. (805) 422-7966