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Will my spouse pay for my attorney’s fees?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2022 | Divorce

You decided to file for a divorce because your spouse cheated on you. It was a relatively simple situation, and you decided to walk away.

The problem is that you’re now having to pay to go through a divorce that you didn’t want. Your spouse’s errors led to your filing, and you’re losing money because of them.

Should your spouse pay for your attorney fees?

What your spouse should or should not do is really down to the circumstances. Some spouses may agree to pay for your court costs and attorney fees as a part of your divorce settlement. Others may refuse to pay, because you’re the one who is filing for divorce with the intention to leave them.

If your question is if the court can step in to force them to pay because of their mistake, that’s a different matter, and it’s complicated.

Can a court force your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees?

If you can show that you are filing for divorce because of adultery, then you might think that your spouse will have to pay, but there is no requirement. Arizona is a no-fault state, which means that while you can ask for them to pay, that isn’t necessarily going to happen because of the court’s requirements.

Arizona also recognizes covenant marriages, which could add a layer of complication to your case. If you have a covenant marriage instead of a standard legal marriage, you will be required to show fault to get a divorce. You may have to go through counseling, too.

In that case, it may be more reasonable to seek attorneys’ fees as the divorce is technically your spouse’s “fault,” but there is no guarantee that they’ll be paid out to you.

Your best option in most scenarios is to negotiate the fees as a part of your divorce settlement. If you can show that you need the fees to be paid because you’re the lesser-earning spouse, for example, then you may be able to get them covered. In some cases, a judge can also order the other party to pay at their discretion based on the Arizona statutes.