Are You The Moneyed Spouse? How to Save Legal Fees in a Divorce

Mace Greenfield Client/Litigant/Pro Se Information

In a divorce, the new laws require the court to calculate spousal support and child support and to direct the moneyed spouse to pay the legal fees (all or part) for the non-moneyed spouse. So, if you earn for example you earn $300,000.00 per year and your spouse earns $50,000.00 per year, a court will direct you to pay spousal support and legal fees in addition to child support if there are children. So, if you leave the marital residence, do not wait for a judge to order you to pay. Find out from a lawyer what a court would order you to pay, and pay 95% to 100% of that amount voluntarily. And if your spouse retains an attorney, voluntarily send him or her check for legal fees, a reasonable amount, not too low or high.
Why you may ask should you pay anything especially to your spouse’s lawyer without a court order? I am sure many attorneys will tell you not to pay anything without a court order. Well, taking the approach of paying nothing will cause your spouse’s lawyer to make a motion for you to pay these amounts and his or her fees. Your lawyer will then bill you to defend and oppose it and the court will order you to pay your spouse’s legal fees for bringing it as well as a retainer amount. Worse yet you will look really bad to the judge.
By paying what a court would order you to pay without the court order makes you look really good in the eyes of the court, and more importantly saves you huge legal fees since you will be both lawyers. There are times your spouse’s lawyer will make the motion anyway just to bill. In this case, your lawyer should oppose it as being frivolous and merit less, seeking sanctions.
If you give all the support to your spouse, your spouse should then pay all the bills on the marital residence. But if you fear that will not happen, pay the carrying charges as you always did before and if it is less than the grand of spousal and child support, pay that difference direct to your spouse. If it is not, discuss with your lawyer about only paying the carrying charges versus also giving your spouse some pocket money as compared to the cost of litigating.
Any spousal support you pay during the marriage is credit against your overall length of time of paying spousal support pursuant to the statute so that the more months you are paying before the divorce is final the less months after the divorce is final you will paying it. So, it all works out in the end anyway, be smart and save legal fees. Avoid lawyers and litigation from the smell of money, your money.