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What if spouse hires an attorney and files for divorce, but the other spouse cannot afford and attorney?

Buffalo, NY |

Due to financial issues marriage suffered and both people want a divorce. One spouse can afford an attorney the other cannot. What happens?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Typically the non-monied spouse seeks to have the spouse with the money pay for both attorneys. This relief is routinely granted by New York's courts.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.


  2. There are options. You can ask the court to have the other spouse pay. You can contact the local bar association to see if there is representation for indigent clients. Good luck.

    I have been a criminal attorney in New York for almost 25 years. website: Brooklynlaw.net Phone #: 718-208-6094 email: howard@brooklynlaw.net. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.


  3. To begin with, if you are the "non-monied" spouse you may be entitled to have counsel fees paid for by your spouse. This will require an application be made requesting counsel fees. You may also be entitled to temporary spousal support until such time as the issues of the marriage have been addressed by the court.

    More often than not, however, you will want to resolve these issues out of court in a global settlement. An attorney will be able to give you a more comprehensive explanation of your rights.

    Please note that this general response to your inquiry does not establish an attorney-client relationship.You should consult with a competent attorney for advice regarding your particular situation.


  4. In NY you are allowed to hire an attorney who will make a motion to have their fees paid by the spouse with the money. The court can also appoint an attorney to represent you in regard to those issues that an attorney could be appointed to you for in Family Court. You should also contact the local bar association to see if they have any free lawyer panels.

    I hope you found this answer helpful and if so, please let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this answer. It’s easy and appreciated. You can also choose a "best answer" if you wish. This is easy to do and greatly appreciated.

    This advice is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship and is a general anwer to the question posed.


  5. You will have to represent yourself if you cannot find an attorney; however, this is ill advised.


  6. While the law in NY does allow for the non monied spouse to seek legal fees from the other and while the courts are required to make such an order if the facts support it, the bottom line is that you need to retain an attorney to make the motion. If you can't afford an attorney to do that, the law isn't much help. I know, it doesn't make much sense. You will need to either look into whatever options for pro bono (free ) counsel that may be available in your area by contacting the Bar association, or see if an attorney is willing to take the case on the expectation of getting fees. Do NOT represent yourself if you can avoid it.

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