Does a Homemaker Have to Pay for Divorce Fees?

Updated on February 11, 2008
L.J. asks from Fort Wayne, IN
8 answers


My husband left me and my children on Christmas Eve. He filed for divorce a few days later. He is the wage earner. I am a stay at home mom. One of my children has autism. He filed to get full custody of the children and wants me out of the home. By the way, we were in Indiana and he left us here. My folks and othe relatives have been taking care of us financially since Christmas. My husband has not helped us financially. He canceled the credit cards, closed out the bank account and changed the locks. My brothers had me take some money out of the bank right after he left, but it has all been spent on lawyer fees. Now my lawyer wants more money. Do my parents have to pay for these fees? Is it possible for the wage earning spouse to have to pay for my legal fees as well? My parents will help as much as possible, but they certainly were not expecting this situation. They have just retired and now they are taking care of us. Should my (ex) husband be sending money during this time? If anyone has knowledge of a wage earning spouse paying for the lawyer of their non wage earning spouse, please let me know. I greatly appreciate your time and help with this issue. Thank you, L.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

Hello L. J

Did you tell your lawyer that you are all out of money? I do there is help out there for you, and in some cases the ex does have to pay all legal fees, but you have to tell your lawyer you want that put in the patition to the court.

I also live in Indiana. Have been through a divorce with 2 girls back in 86.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

WOW, I live in Fort Wayne IN and just finished my own divorce last July. It was final in September. Honestly if your lawyer has not gotten the courts to order your ex to pay you spousal support until the divorce is final he SUCKS!!! You need a new lawyer. You are intitaled to spousal support, the house, child support, a car. What your husband did was illegal and you need to put on some big girl panties and talk to your lawyer about this. I didn't even have a lawyer and was able to petition to court for support, and this is support while the divorce is going through. I understand how you must feel right now, and trust me it will take a long time to feel storng again. I was seperated almost 2 years before the divorce was ever filed. However, you deserve and are intitaled to a hell of alot more then you are getting.

I just want to add, I just read some of the other responses, and seeing that I just went through this I believe they are mistaken. Just because you are/were a stay at home mom does not mean that you HAVE to get a job, especially if this was a conscience decision that you 2 made as a married couple. Do, I think you need to get a job well HELL yes for your own sanity and your own since of self worth. I hope that you know that it takes an act of God, to take children away from their mother, especially in this state. As long as you have nOT done anything wrong or to endanger your children it won't happen. What is his reason for taking them away?? Sounds like he just wants to hurt you, sounds like he just wants to be a prick. You must push the hurt aside, and push the love you still have for him aside and do what is best for you and your children. Ask yourself what the hell is he going to do with the kids?? Put them in daycare while he works, will he make sure they get baths, teeth brushed, extra care for the autistic child. Ask yourself has he ever done these things or is this the reason you were a stay at home mom?? Get a new lawyer. There are service in Fort Wayne that will give you an attorney for free. I am not sure what the number is, google free legal services in Ft. Wayne In. You should be able to find it from there. Also, just know that the court system in the City(Ft. Wayne) sucks and if you do any filing by yourself for any reason be prepared to be treated horribly.

Take a deep breathe..........clear your mind.......and start fighting like the strong woman you use to be. Stop rolling in the depression,(I know it is hard...I KNOW)!!!! TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK!!!!!



answers from Fort Wayne on

i am so sorry to hear what you are going through--I don't have any new advice--just second what others here have said. But I do want to add--DO NOT be ashamed to go apply for assistance--situations like yours is why it is available. I am saying this because so many in our society look down on "welfare" and granted there are probably people getting help who are lazy and scamming the system but most are women like you who have been put into a bad situation through no fault of their own. I was on assistance many years ago(my first husband was a drug and alcohol addict) and my sister still is--she is in Ohio so the laws may be different than here in Indiana--but she had a statement from her DR that her older son who is autistic needed a full time parent--so she got custody and her ex has to pay support, and she has subsidized housing, food stamps and Medicaid. Now that he is older and is actually doing much better(due mostly to her hard work!) she is now able to work part time. She was very depressed in the beginning and our Mom had to help her but now she and her sons are doing great. And she is so happy that her ex is her ex--she did not realize how miserable they all were until he was gone! So take heart--it will get better!



answers from Fort Wayne on

I filed for devorice but I know that if you call Indiana Legal Services they help.

202 West Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802




answers from Fort Wayne on

Well, unfortunately, your best bet may be to find a lawyer who is willing to accept a certain amount of money each month, instead of all of it at once. My brother divorced his ex wife, who was a stay at home mom also. She had to move in with her parents also, and they ended up having to pay her legal fees. Now, my brother didn't make a lot of money at the time, and he found a lawyer in Warsaw who, after he paid the retainer, allowed him to pay him $50/month. He is still paying him, and probably will be paying him for another few years, but atleast it's affordable. If I were you, the first thing I would do is go out and get a job, then start saving like crazy so you can get an apartment as soon as possible. My brother wanted custody of their little girl, and he stayed with my dad long enough to save money for first month's rent, deposit, and money to fill the house up with food. He even had to find a new job right away because he had been working for his ex wife's dad. So, he got on his feet in his own apartment within about two months, and then sued for custody. He won. I will say before you worry that his ex wife was not exactly stable mentally, so that played a big part too. But, definitely get out there and start working. Don't let this be something that brings you down, rather, use the situation to make yourself stronger. Prove to your children that when life gets hard, you stand off, dust yourself off, and get moving again. Call around to lawyers and ask if they're willing to accept payments. Believe me, there have got to be some in Fort Wayne that do. You just might have to ask around. If you are mentally stable, with no history of mental illness, drug use, or anything serious like that, then you don't need the BEST lawyer in Fort Wayne. It's nearly impossible for a father to get the kids taken away from the mother. But, one thing that would definitely help you is getting a full time job immediately, that will show the judge that you're responsible and able to support the kids on your own. Also, this is something that you DEFINITELY want to do. I would sue for your attorney fees in the divorce settlement. That way, you would only have to pay up front for whatever he requires, and after that your husband can pay. My brother's ex sued him for her attorney fees, the cost of the only car they owned that he took with him, money for bills, half of the money in the bank account (which you're totally entitled to, he had NO right to close that account, and will probably get in trouble for it.) You could even sue him for the house, and you'd PROBABLY get it! He can't just kick you and the kids out of the house, and honestly, he's probably about to learn some really hard lessons. AND, when a judge hears what he did as far as changing the locks and closing accounts go, he will probably throw the book at him and award you wonderful alimony, which you definitely need to ask for since you were a stay at home mom while you were married, and great child support. Sometimes, the judge will even award that he continues to pay the mortgage! Keep your chin up. Take baby steps. Remember this is NOT the end of your life. Make a list of things you need to do and tackle them one at a time. Find a lawyer first, but in the meantime, definitely find a job to start as soon as possible.



answers from Fort Wayne on

L., My daughter just got a divorce and she also is a stay at home mom with her youngest having CP & Autism. There is a free service here in Indiana for those who need legal help. That is how she got her divorce,will and living will done and now the lawyer is taking car of an auto accident that she was in recently.Here is the info : Vol. Legal Services, ###-###-#### This is the one she used. They will send you an application. Your lawyer should know about this service. Another one is Legal Asst. Indiana Legal Services. 1-877-323-6260. Keep me updated on how you are doing. If you need any help send me your phone number and my daughter would be more than willing to talk with you.
from Auburn



answers from Fort Wayne on

You need to talk to your attorney and request that your ex pay for the attorney fees in pleadings filed before the court. The court will have to award attorney fees in order for your ex to have to pay any, but you have to ask.



answers from Fort Wayne on

Honey... switch to a different lawyer.

You make no money. You are able to get a free lawyer. Most (or every) lawyer is required to do some pro-bono work at some point. Every Tuesday there is free legal counseling from 5pm to 7pm. It's through Free Legal Services. There's another number that takes applications from 9am to 11am M,W,F. Call them for assistance. You fill out an online application. When I divorced my ex-, my fees were free except for the filing fee of $150. Call 211. It's an information call and they can give you the phone numbers as I forget them off hand.

Additionally, he is responsible for half of all legal fees anyways. You can file a lawsuit with your divorce attorney for him to pay all your legal fees since he's the wage earner and he filed. You shouldn't owe anything.

Also, the father rarely obtains full custody of the children. So don't worry about that. File for temporary custody at the Allen County Court House building off Main Street. You can also file for full custody with the judge. He is not going to take the children from you unless you are a bad parent. The most your ex- will get is joint custody. Because you are not working does not mean you're a bad parent or incapable of taking care of the children. You're going to school and you can apply for assistance through social services off Rudisill. Apply for Hoosier Healthwise insurance for the children and for foodstamps and TANF. Even if you don't qualify, you can show the courts you are making every attempt to take care of your family while you're going to school. You can also show them you have the assistance of your family, which means you are more than one person - one parent - of the children. You can also apply for reduced priced housing off Anthony Street. Apply for Section 8 and Fort Wayne Housing Authority. Knowing that you -are technically without housing- will push though the application faster. It can take up to 2 years. Make a copy of those applications for the judge to show you are making every effort to get ahead... as well as going to school full-time.

Since you were a stay-at-home mom, the judge will take that into consideration. He's not going to see you're unfit when you are doing everything any person can do to get ahead.

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