Do I have to pay for my spouse's lawyer fees in my Westchester County Divorce

White Plains, New York Divorce Lawyers Explain the Answer

At the law firm of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, located in White Plains, New York, the county seat of Westchester County, one of the most common questions asked by our clients is whether they will have to pay for the fees of their spouse's lawyer. However, as each divorce matter is different there is no "one size fits all" answer. It will always depend on the facts and circumstances of each divorce case.

New York Domestic Relations Law Section 237(a) (Applicable to Westchester County Divorces)

New York Domestic Relations Law Section 237 provides that in any divorce case the Court may direct one spouse to pay counsel fees directly to the attorney of the other spouse to enable the other party to carry on or defend the action or proceeding as, in the court's discretion, justice requires, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties.

The purpose of this law is to prevent the spouse with more money from using their superior financial resources as a sword against the other spouse to the point where it weakens or destroys the other spouse from being able to adequately litigate their position in court.

The Presumption

Domestic Relations Law Section 237(a) also makes it crystal clear that there is a rebuttable presumption that counsel fees shall be awarded to the less monied, or non-monied spouse. This means that if your spouse makes less money than you do then it will be presumed that you will have to pay for spouse's counsel fees. However, the law also makes it crystal clear you may rebut this presumption. In this regard, the court will have to consider your actual ability to pay and the extent of legal services required to deal with the divorce case.

White Plains Divorce Lawyers and Paying for your spouse's lawyer fees

Whether you are considering filing for a divorce in Westchester County or a divorce has already been filed, the White Plains divorce lawyers at our firm can effectively assist you with a proper analysis as to whether the Court may order you to pay for your spouse's lawyer fees. As a result of the "rebuttable presumption" a fair amount of litigation over this issue always exists in Westchester County divorce cases. The White Plains divorce lawyers at our firm have a vast amount of experience in this area and we encourage you to call us at (914) 840-5104 or contact us online for a FREE CONSULTATION.