Having Your Spouse Pay the Legal Fees in a NJ Divorce
I am often asked as a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer, what to do when you’re the spouse who’s not working, and your spouse has an income? Whether that income is high, low, or medium doesn’t matter. You’ve been able to stay home, and your spouse works. You don’t have access to funds. How do you get a lawyer? How is it going to be possible to pay the lawyer after the initial retainer? What do you do? You’re stuck, right? That’s what you think. You’re not.
In the state of New Jersey, the case of Williams vs Williams addresses the allocation of legal fees. The basic concept is this. If one side is earning money and the other side is not earning money, they either use the income from the one side or assets from both parties to supply the divorce. Basically, that means every divorce client will have the ability to get an attorney. If there’s no money, or the case itself doesn’t have a lot of income in the family, but one of the spouses’ families has money, it can be a disadvantage.
Make no mistake. The backstory is that the family will then pay money, and will pay extra money for an attorney to do certain things which the other spouse in the relationship – the one who doesn’t have a lot of money – would not be able to do. Money comes into play, and it’s a big deal. You have to be aware of it. In general terms, in the state of New Jersey, the fact that you’re not the one earning the money doesn’t mean you’re blocked from using the money in your family and/or the income and make your spouse pay for both sides of the divorce.
That’s a very difficult concept to understand; however, even the person who is earning the income will understand that the state of New Jersey is trying to level the playing field. If you get an attorney who will cost X dollars, your spouse has a right to an attorney who’s going to cost X dollars. Does that mean you don’t have to pay as much if you get a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer who’s cheaper than the other one,? No, it doesn’t.
In the end, both clients/spouses have to be on a somewhat level playing field. If that requires one side to pay legal fees for the other, then so be it.
Are you unable to afford a divorce because your spouse controls the finances? Contact dedicated New Jersey Divorce Lawyer Christopher Leon Garibian for guidance.
Christopher Leon Garibian, Esq. is a partner in the matrimonial and family law department of Weiner Law Group LLP. He has over 19 years of experience handling a multitude of Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout New Jersey. He is passionate about family law and takes pride in his ability to effectuate real change in the lives of his clients. He is certified by the State Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney. If you are in need of an experienced Divorce Attorney or Family Law Attorney in NJ, contact us today for compassionate, long lasting legal solutions.