Skip to main content

Does it matter who files first in a divorce in California ? who pays attorney fees ?

Bakersfield, CA |

house wife for 19 yrs , no employment. he was our support

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    Legally it does not matter, however some people emotionally feel that being the first to file puts them at some sort of advantage. Legally it does not matter who files for divorce first. The attorney's fees are paid by the person in the best position to pay for them. The court will do an analysis taking into account the party's income, lack of income, access to funds etc. So it's basically the person who has more money, or access to money that pays for the attorney's fees. If he was your support for 19 years then the court will award you a permanent spousal support award based on your marital standard of living. You are also entitled to half of all the property that was owned during marriage. For example, if he bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle during your marriage, then legally you are entitled to half the value of that motorcycle at time of separation. Everything is split down the middle (or as close as humanly possible). The attorney's fees may be awarded at the very beginning of the divorce. An attorney can file paper work with the court asking the court to order your ex spouse to pay for your attorney's initial retainer.

    This advice does not create an attorney client relationship and should only be used for informational purposes. You are advised to speak with an attorney in person. This advice is not to relied upon to make legal decisions and is only intended as an advertisement for the law office.


  2. It does not matter who files first. ATtorney fees are usually paid the party but if there are CP assets that can be used to pay for fees, then this is a possibility. Also if one party has a large disparity of income, the party with the large income could be ordered to pay the other party's attorney fees. Were there any children?


  3. Doesn't really matter although if a case goes to trial, there are certain advantages in going first. Attorney fees to be awarded are up to the court.

Divorce topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics