Can I Get Him to Pay for the Lawyer?

Updated on June 27, 2011
D.L. asks from Fremont, NE
7 answers

Well I feel very much screwed over at this moment already. As Everyone seems to think its so easy and makes it sound easy to get the help I found it to be nothing remotly close to being easy. Anyways I was told by my friend that in nebraska that it's rarely the case where the lawyer can get the Other (my husband) to pay my lawyer fees. Her lawyer told her this when she asked if she could get her husband to when they got a divorce. If this is the case, then If I do ever find a lawyer that I have to pay, ( which at this moment is not going so well) Then I won't be able to get one, because I won't be able to pay them. I might have been able to pay the retainer with help of family, but to pay anymore I woudln't be able to do it.

I have already went through legal aid, They told me there wasn't anyone in the area anymore, and they gave me the number to the volenteer Lawyer Project ( sorry about bad spelling), But they told me that it could take up to 8 week, if at all to find one that would take my case. So really I feel a bit lost on what to do now. Mind you though I am still looking for a lawyer in the area, but its looking slim to none actually in my town.

What can I do next?

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answers from St. Louis on

So far as I know no attorney will take you on the hopes of your husband having to pay. It is hit or miss what a judge will make him pay if anything.

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answers from St. Louis on

There are two ways he will have to pay for your lawyer:

1) if he agrees to (I assume slim chance here)
2) the judge orders him to (your attorney you hire would request he (your ex) pay the legal fees and would show in his motion reasons you are unable to do so and why your soon to be ex should have to pay).

If you can come up with the retainer, talk to the attorney about a payment plan thereafter. Does your ex have money? If yes, you might have an easier time finding an attorney who is willing to file the necessary motion(s) to ask for attorney's fees.

Good luck to you.

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answers from Boston on

Apply to the Lawyer Project. I can guarantee you that you will still be married and still in the midst of starting a divorce in 8 weeks. Courts just don't move that quickly. I was in court last week and couples were there for temporary orders, status updates, etc. Anyone with unfinished business (which is most of the them) have another court date in December or January. Yep, 6 months between court dates because the schedules are full.

If for some reason he gets some kind of court date before you can talk to someone at the lawyer project, just go and say that you don't have an attorney, you are indigent, you are not prepared to discuss anything or make any decisions, etc. and they will just reschedule for a few months away (I saw three such cases last week and in one case, the husband has been claiming this for 2 years!).

If your husband pressures you, tell him that you are NOT moving forward or agreeing to anything until you have legal counsel. Give him two options - he either pays for the lawyer of your choice (and provides a big giant retainer at the beginning) or pays for a mediator, also of your choosing. Mediation is MUCH cheaper than litigation. The difference is that when you have a mediator, he or she meets with you both together and goes over the process and has a list of things you need to settle before you can get a divorce. You each take copies of the list, fill out your wish list and get back together with the mediator. The mediator will help walk you through the differences between what you want and what he wants. The mediator is neutral but will advise you on what the laws are in your state, what general recommendations are, etc. A mediator should be able to answer questions about things like what part of the marital assets does the law say you are entitled to, what would child support look like if you had primary custody, whether or not your state typically awards alimony (and how much and for how long) etc. so that both of you can make INFORMED decisions. Then each of you takes the proposed arrangement to an attorney (here's where your family could help you with a one-time meeting fee) so that you can be sure that you understand what you are agreeing to and that it's in the best interest of you and your son. If your attorney and his agree with the recommendation, you can then file for divorce (some states allow a joint petition if it's uncontested), a judge (or more accurately someone from the probate office) will review the proposal and approve it and you can be done.

Good for you for sticking to your guns. Again, do not let your husband bully you into anything - his choices are pay for your lawyer, pay for and participate in mediation, or wait an eternity for you to find legal help. He's the one who seems to be driving ahead with this - let him know that you are absolutely NOT agreeing to ANYTHING without counsel. I know that at this point you probably just want this OVER but even if you hired a lawyer today, divorce - even uncontested - takes months if not over a year. You have nothing to lose (other than your sanity lol) by waiting for appropriate counsel. Keep in mind that what you decide now will affect the rest of your life and your son's life. This is a time to slow way down and make sure that you have the help you need to make sure that anything you agree to is the right thing for you and your son.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would contact the Volunteer Lawyer Project, regardless of the delay.

Here in CA we have a "Facilitator" at the local courthouse, an attorney who has donated a day's time to helping people like yourself, and it sounds as if the two could be the same. There's also a "fee waiver" people can apply for to waive filing fees if they are in financial hardship.

You have absolutely no guarantee a judge would order your husband to pay your fees, so you need to do what you have to do to take matters into your own hands.

And I don't think it's easy, it's a pain.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Pay the retainer fee and try to have as minimal meetings before court as you have to with your lawyer before court. Write down all your questions you have and when you go in to pay your retainer fee ask the receptionist if she knows the answers to your questions unless they are ones you need to discuss with your lawyer like options and alimony and support and those types of things. You won't get the next bill until after your hearing. Go and then find a way to pay the bill off. Sell your wedding ring for the money.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi D.,

Anyone who told you divorce was easy was either stupid, independently wealthy or has never gotten one.

I'm not sure I understand that you could have paid the retainer, but not anything else? Lawyers usually try to estimate what the divorce will cost and then the retainer amount is based on that. You only have to pay extra if you go to court extra times or if you and your ex keep arguing and sending papers back and forth.

I would start getting your name on any list you can with legal Aid or the Lawyer Project. Also the state of nebraska should have a child support division that can help you get child support and give you a caseworker that can help you file papers for child support.

Then - call every lawyer in your town and ask if they will do payment plans.

It's not just in Nebraska that judges don't make the other party pay legal fees. Almost everywhere now each person pays their own legal fees. if you can agree on everything you can use one lawyer, but ONLY do that if you can agree.....

I sorta skimmed your past posts - it looks like at one time you and your STBEx had agreed on everything and were going to file yourselves.... did you decide not to do that?

Good Luck.

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answers from Eugene on

I live in Oregon so things may be different here but my ex was required to pay half my legal fees. A friend of mine had no money for an attorney but found an excellent lawyer who allows her to pay a small amount every month.

If you can't find a legal aid lawyer in your town, find one in a neighboring town who can work with you by phone or skype.

There is nothing easy about divorce. Do what you have to do to get the help you need and don't give up. I've been there and it's still a struggle some days, but you can do this and be a survivor.

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