A frequent question asked of Texas divorce lawyers is about who is responsible for paying their fees, as divorces can be time-consuming ;and expensive.
Many people assume that it is the filing spouse who is responsible for paying for the divorce attorneys of both spouses, but this is not always the case in Texas.
Who pays a divorce law firm in Texas is decided on a case-by-case basis dependent on a few important factors.
Texas Is A Community Property And Debt State
Texas is a community property state where divorce lawyers must advise their clients on how to classify and disperse any assets that are considered marital wealth.
What often gets overlooked is that community property also means community debt, which is also divided up among spouses.
Fees charged by divorce law firms on both sides are considered marital debt.
As such, the general rule of thumb in Texas is either for each spouse to pay their own divorce attorney fees or for all of the fees to be presented at the end of the case for debt distribution by the court.
In either case, both spouses typically pay legal fees unless there are other circumstances that come into effect to change that.
Considerations Made When Determining Who Pays
When determining who will be responsible for the marital debt of paying divorce lawyers, the family court considers each circumstance differently, the same as when distributing marital wealth.
Everything from a spouse’s behavior during the marriage to their specific need and personal situation can be weighed regarding the payment of legal fees and how much each spouse will pay.
It means that in circumstances that vary from each spouse paying for their own divorce attorney, one spouse may end up paying for more or all of the combined legal fees.
What Happens When A Spouse Cannot Pay?
When a spouse is in a position where they cannot afford to pay a divorce law firm to help them, there may be some consideration made to get some or all of their fees paid by the other spouse.
Filing a motion for Interim Attorney Fees requests consideration from the judge, who will review each spouse’s financial circumstance and level of need, then determine who will pay basic legal fees so that each spouse has legal representation.
This can also be weighed along with the judgment for marital property and who gets what, with some of a couple’s assets being awarded as a part of the settlement that includes payment of legal fees.
Attorney Fees Are Marital Debt In Texas Divorces
Paying for a qualified, experienced divorce lawyer is a necessary expense for anyone getting divorced within the state of Texas to ensure a fair proceeding and settlement.
Though divorce attorney fees are technically considered to be marital debt, there are circumstances when one spouse may be required to pay the legal expenses of the other.
Always enlist the services of a divorce law firm that can explain their fee schedule in detail up front, then work with the court on finding a far and suitable solution for the payment of all legal fees.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.
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