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Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer on Divorce in Ohio Part 8: Will my husband or wife have to pay some or all of my attorney fees?

January 9, 2011

COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYERThis is the 8th installment in a series by Virginia Cornwell, a Columbus Ohio Divorce Attorney and Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.  Virginia is one of approximate 100 attorneys in Ohio to have received this honor.  This article is about the process and options for ending your marriage in Ohio, and about Ohio divorce laws.

Will my husband or wife have to pay some or all of my lawyer fees?

If you need a divorce, you will have to decide whether you are going to hire a lawyer.  That means you are going to have to think about how to pay for your lawyer.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYERYou may be surprised to find out that once the divorce court makes a temporary restraining order, you may NOT use these resources to pay for your attorney fees:

  • Money that is in any type of account except a CHECKING account.  That means you cannot touch your retirement, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, savings accounts, etc.  Once the restraining order is in place, ONLY checking accounts are available to pay your attorney fees.
  • You cannot use a home equity line of credit or take any loans which are marital assets.
  • You cannot sell anything that is marital property.
  • You cannot take any loans, open any credit cards or incur any kind of debt in your spouse’s name or on your spouse’s credit.
  • Your spouse’s wages or earnings, unless they are deposited into a joint checking account

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

COLUMBUS OHIO DIVORCE LAWYERYou MAY, however, use the following resources to pay your attorney fees after you have been served with a temporary restraining order:

  • Your wages
  • Money that you have in a checking account
  • Money from you withdrew from your retirement or borrowed against an asset before you were under a temporary restraining order
  • Loans (must be in your name only)
  • Credit Cards
  • Help from family members
  • Attorney fees that your spouse is ordered to pay by the court, and your spouse actually DOES pay them

 

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

COLUMBUS DIVORCE ATTORNEYOf all of these resources, the last one, court ordered attorney fees, is the least reliable.  In general, Ohio domestic relations courts are very conservative when awarding attorney fees, especially at the beginning of the divorce case.  Your lawyer can file a motion asking the Court for attorney fees for Often, the amount of attorney fees ordered, is very low compared to the attorney fees you have incurred .  The first opportunity to ask the court for attorney fees comes when you file your initial divorce papers, but the first time the court actually considers awarding attorney fees is when the court makes Temporary Orders.  If temporary orders are not decided based upon the initial filing, temporary orders are usually decided at the first hearing, or after the parties file Temporary Orders Affidavits. In Franklin County, it is very common for the court to award NO attorney fees in temporary orders, and to reserve the matter for decision at the final hearing (trial).  Since more than 90% of divorce cases settle, that means that a large percentage of litigants do NOT get attorney fees unless their case goes to trial.  Ironically, many divorce cases settle because one party has control of the assets and income, and the other party can no longer afford to pursue their fair share.

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

COLUMBUS DIVORCE ATTORNEYPoor planning for divorce can cost parties everything they hoped to have to start their new life.  Your initial retainer is NOT going to cover the cost of the whole divorce.  Don’t deposit that initial retainer and hope for the best – make a plan.  If you can’t afford to make a plan, then reconsider dissolution, or see if you qualify for help from the Legal Aid Society.  What you do NOT want to do is close your eyes and make a wish.  Make a plan, not a wish.

When Ohio courts award attorney fees in divorce cases, there are laws and regulations that govern their decisions, but the court still have a lot of discretion.

Upon motion of one of the parties, the court can order attorney fees at any time, and can rely on several sources of authority to do so:

CALL NOW  at (614) 225-9316

You may also find some of these articles in our divorce series to be of interest:

CALL NOW  (614) 225-9316

In addition to the other installments in this Divorce in Ohio Series (see links at top of the page), you may also find the following topics, which relate to divorce, to be helpful.

AdulteryAnnulmentAlimony (Spousal Support)Best Interest of the ChildChild CustodyChild Custody Jurisdiction, Child Support (deviation)Child Support (how much)Child Support (how to pay)Child Support (lower)Child Support (myths)Child Support (resources), Child Support (sign up),ContemptDissolutionDivorce BasicsDivorce MythsForeclosure MediationGrandparentsGuardian ad LitemHouse, How Long Your Divorce May LastInternational Abduction,Legal SeparationMediationMovingPacket of Forms vs. Getting a LawyerPrenuptial Agreements (Antenuptial Agreements)Shared Parenting,Temporary OrdersTemporary Orders AffidavitsWhere to File for Divorce

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