Can I get my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees?

Whether you can have your spouse pay for the attorney’s fees depends on the facts of your case. I often counsel individuals to expect that the attorney’s fees will be paid by what’s called the community estate. And the community estate is essentially all the money that’s been acquired by you and your spouse during your period of marriage. Let’s say you and your spouse, for example, have $50,000 in a bank account. And your husband takes $25,000 and puts it into his own account. And you then go ahead and you take $25,000 remainder and put it into your account. Well, if each of you is using those funds to pay for your attorneys, assuming everyone is acting properly during the divorce case, it’s an unlikely result that one spouse would pay for all the attorney’s fees, because the reality is the community estate is paying for the attorney’s fees rather than just one spouse or the other. Now there’s a different outcome in some other cases. And that depends on something I usually refer to as bad behavior. If one of the spouses is the but-for cause of a great amount of expense and attorney’s fees being incurred, in those cases, it is possible, and sometimes likely, that attorneys fees can be reimbursed to the spouse that had to incur additional fees because of the bad behavior of their spouse.