July 29, 2022

Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Divorce?

It’s no secret that a divorce can quickly become an expensive endeavor. But you shouldn’t let concerns about attorney fees prevent you from taking action if you believe that a divorce would be the best decision for you and your family. In fact, Colorado law recognizes that financial hardships may be a roadblock for some people pursuing a divorce, which is why they have specific laws designed to address this issue.

While you do need to consider the costs of hiring a divorce attorney, most people who have gone through a divorce will tell you that these fees are certainly worth it in the long run. Pursuing a divorce without legal counsel and representation can make it more difficult to meet your financial and family goals. Handling a divorce case on your own also adds an undue burden during an experience that many say is one of the most challenging times in their lives. That’s why it’s recommended to work with an experienced and empathetic divorce attorney to support you each step of the way.

In this blog, we’re exploring one of the most commonly asked questions individuals have before filing for divorce: who pays attorney fees? While the answer is more complex than one might initially assume, an experienced divorce attorney can help you assess potential fees and financial needs for your specific case.

Peek Family Law is your trusted Colorado family law firm. With a team of experienced and compassionate Denver divorce attorneys, we know what it takes to help each of our clients attain their family goals. In addition to Denver divorce cases, our family law office specializes in many different family law practice areas, including alimony, child custody, adoptions, and even common law marriages in Colorado. If you’re in need of a family law attorney you can trust, Peek Vasquez Family Law is here to support you. 

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

The cost of a divorce is a critical factor that each party must take into account. However, you shouldn’t allow for potential financial issues to prevent you from making an important decision for you and your family. While each divorce cost will depend on a variety of factors, such as the attorneys, mediators, court fees, and the length of the divorce, statistics show that the average cost of a Colorado divorce is between $9,000 and $11,000. This includes all the fees you may expect, including hiring a divorce attorney, court fees, filing fees, and sundry costs.

But in many ways, the overall cost of your divorce will really come down to you and your spouse. If the spouses pursue an uncontested divorce, then there’s a good chance your overall costs will be much lower as these types of divorces move much quicker. However, if you pursue a contested divorce wherein both parties cannot come to an agreement on various aspects of the divorce, the process can drag on and quickly become much more expensive than the average. 

Who Pays the Attorney Fees in a Divorce?

This primarily comes down to the financial resources of each spouse. Under Colorado state law, each spouse is responsible for paying for their own divorce attorney fees. However, in cases where one spouse may not have the financial resources to do so, the court may order the other spouse to cover these divorce costs. Who pays the fees for each divorce case is always determined on an individual basis. This is just one more reason why it’s so important to hire an experienced divorce attorney who can help you assess the overall costs of your divorce. 

Does Being At Fault Influence Who Pays Attorney Fees?

This question arises is one party can be considered “at fault” during a divorce for actions such as cheating on their spouse. Thus, if your spouse is at fault for causing the divorce, do they end up having to pay attorney fees? In Colorado, this factor does not take part in a judge’s decisions to award attorney fees. So if your spouse does cheat or cause the divorce by some other means, this does not automatically mean they would be on the hook for any fees. 

What if I Can’t Afford Attorney Fees in Colorado?

In some cases, one spouse may have complete control over the finances in a marriage, such as when one spouse works and the other raises children. In these scenarios, the spouse who is financially dependent on the other may worry that they could never file for the divorce because they simply can’t afford it. While it’s no secret that a divorce can become a costly affair, but this concern shouldn’t serve as a barrier for individuals seeking a divorce.

These types of situations are why the state of Colorado has “Rose motions.” In a landmark case, the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that a trial court can actually award “prospective” attorney fees. This means that the court can order a spouse with more financial means to give some funds to the other spouse to fund the divorce. These requests are known as Rose motions.

Therefore, if you’re filing for a divorce but you do not have the funds to hire a divorce attorney, you can hire an attorney and ask them to file a Rose motion on your behalf. This works to ensure that the hardship of that divorce process is more equitable between the two parties. 

Conclusion – Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Divorce?

There’s no simple answer when it comes to who pays the attorney fees for a divorce in Colorado. While attorney fees may be drawn equally from a marital fund, a judge may also take into account the financial situation for each spouse. In some cases, if one spouse is the primary “breadwinner,” they may be ordered to pay partial or the entirety of legal fees for the entire divorce proceeding. If one spouse is not willing to work with the court, they may then be required to pay the attorney fees.

Determining who pays attorney fees in a Denver divorce can be complicated. That’s why you should never pursue a divorce on your own. Working with an experienced Denver divorce law firm can help you understand your case from a legal perspective and determine what this process might end up costing. Having a team of experts on your side can help you assess your options, set realistic goals, and understand the legal implications of pursuing a divorce. They’ll also negotiate on your behalf in efforts to see that your goals are met.

In most cases, there is no good or perfect outcome for a divorce. However, we promise to work diligently to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for you and your family. If you’re going through a divorce, don’t take on this challenge alone. Hire an experienced and compassionate Denver divorce attorney to help guide you every step of the way. 

Contact us today at Peek Family Law to learn more about how we can help you and your family. With an initial consultation, we can assess your options and set you on the path toward achieving your family goals.