Skip to Content
Call Us Today 949-681-9952

Can My Spouse Make Me Pay for Their Divorce Attorney Fees?


Find a divorce lawyer willing to give you the very best price for their services and you still might be looking at a considerable receipt at the end of it all, especially if the divorce was contested or complicated due to a high net worth. In family situations where one spouse makes the majority or all of the household income, this can become a real problem for the other. With bills stacking up and not much yet in their name, paying attorney fees can become an impossibility. That is, only if the other spouse doesn’t help them pay.

Court Orders to Share Attorney Fees

In California, one spouse having an attorney and the other acting alone is not seen as a “fair legal playing field.” Without professional counsel, it is easy for someone to make an avoidable mistake and inadvertently give up child custody rights, pieces of community property, and so on. To keep things balanced, the court can order that one spouse – whomever is making the most income – to pay for some or all of the other’s divorce attorney fees.

This financial reward, so to speak, is really only reserved for situations where there is a considerable disparity between each spouse’s income and what they will earn in property division. If you are set to win a sizeable sum from a bank account, retirement plan, or in stocks, you probably will not be able to have your spouse pay for your lawyer. The same can be said if you belong to a two-income household where each of you earn enough money to take care of yourself separately, even if that still means your spouse makes much more than you.

Paying for Bad Behavior

Some people going through a divorce will look for revenge anywhere they can find it. In a courtroom and throughout the legal process, this can manifest as intentionally wasting everyone’s time with disruptive behavior, like filing a multitude of frivolous motions or refusing to share necessary information until the court orders it. If your ex-spouse is engaging in such disruptive tactics, why should you have to pay for it?

The court might agree that you shouldn’t. If it is clear that your spouse is trying to waste your time and money, you can petition to have them pay for a portion or all of your divorce attorney fees, regardless of who makes more income.

For more information about court orders to pay your spouse’s divorce lawyer’s bill, contact Gill Law Group, PC today. Our Irvine divorce attorney can help you understand your legal options and represent you in court, if need be. Schedule your complimentary case evaluation today.