Family Law: Attorney Fees

In family law actions (divorce, legal separation or declaration of invalidity), it is typical for the Court to address the issue of attorney fees. By statute, if one party has a need, and the other party has the ability to pay, the Court will order that party to pay a reasonable amount (some or all) of the other party’s attorney fees. This is done so as to equalize the playing field between the parties, and prevent the wage earning spouse from having legal representation and the homemaker spouse from having to represent themselves because they have no income or funds. This can be done up front at a hearing for temporary orders, or at the final trial as well. The court will review the income, expenses and liquid assets available to both sides. The court requires an attorney fee affidavit as part of the motion.

The court can also enter attorney fees, if the Court finds that one party has been intransigent (intentionally dragging their feet to run up attorney fees).

If the Court enters a finding of Contempt, the Court is mandated to award reasonable attorney fees as part of it’s Order.

If your spouse has an attorney and you feel you cannot afford one, there are options available to you.

In our office, we do our work on an hourly basis. We have two (2) attorneys to chose from, Peter W. Mogren, Ronald E. Glessner (retired) and Michelle R. Ahrens.