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I am being asked to cover fees pertaining to my ex wifes attorney. I have not signed the agreement read into record.

San Diego, CA |

I wanted a few things changed on the settlement...pertaining to interspousal deed transfer and custody. We are trying to settle out of court and she is asking for me to pay her lawyer fees. I am now self representing. Her lawyer is telling me that if we go to court the judge will award fees to them.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Maybe yes, maybe no. it depends on a lot of factors. Your income, her income, who has taken what actions in the divorce case (appropriate motions, in appropriate motions), what positions the parties have taken. Lots of things go into determining who may or may not have to pay fees. it is not automatic.

    Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at schwerin@ix.netcom.com. Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.


  2. Mr. Schwerin is quite correct. your being required to pay your wife's fees is discretionary with the court based on the factors he listed. It appears that you were previously represented. I suggest that you spend some $$ and talk with your former lawyer. If that is not an option, then find an experienced family lawyer to assist you. You can consult with a lawyer about your question for little or no cost through a lawyer referral service in your area. You can find your nearest lawyer referral service by clicking on the link below.

    If you found this response helpful, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this response. Thank you. Mr. Richardson practices in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, and concentrates in non-adversarial dispute resolution as a mediator and collaborative lawyer. The California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization certifies Mr. Richardson as a specialist in California Family Law. He offers no comments or advice with respect to the laws of any state or jurisdiction other than California. The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. Mr. Richardson is not your lawyer unless and until you and he have personally met together. This post does not constitute legal advice, and no lawyer client relationship results.


  3. Congratulations on the completion of your divorce. It must be a great relief for you.

    An order of attorneys’ fees is conditioned on many things including comparative incomes, behavior of the parties throughout the action, and access to funds. In your case it also depends upon what was read into the record. Get a copy of the transcript and read it. If you already agreed to pay fees and told the judge so, yes, you will be responsible for some amount of money.

    If the request for fees was after entry of judgment and only between you and opposing counsel it is less clear. The statutory factors are applied and the judge has discretion to order payment of fees.

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