Can my husband be responsible for paying for my divorce attorney's fees since I have been a stay-at-home mom?

Question Details:I am not employed and I have been a stay at home wife and mother in Jackson County, MO for 11 years. Should I wait to file for a divorce until I am employed? If he decides to file first, can he be held responsible for paying for both our legal fees since I am not employed? I have kept good notes of his hostile and threatening behavior towards me. I have left twice for a few months but came back because I am scared to go through with a divorce having never been on my own and I don't want my son to go back and forth between us. But I am fully convinced that staying with him out of fear is not good either.

Asked 5 years ago under Divorce, Marriage, Alimony | 4650 Views | More Legal Topics

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B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 5 years ago

If there is enough money -- assets and/or income -- it might well be possible to get a court to force your husband to pay your attorney's fees.  On the right facts, some attorneys will take a case under these conditions, although you would still be contractually liable for the fees if it didn't happen.

It isn't at all unusual, at the beginning of a divorce in a case like yours, for the stay-at-home mother's attorney to file a motion for temporary child support and alimony, and attorneys' fees.  Your inability to pay -- and your husband's ability to do so, would be among the things a court would look at here.  Better family court judges won't let men in your husband's position gain an unfair advantage by having a lawyer while their wives are unrepresented.

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