Written by attorney Susan L. Jeffries

Getting Your Ex-Spouse to Pay Your Attorney

The Borson Motion Procedure A court can order a party to pay the other party’s attorneys fees. If you decide to change attorneys in the middle of your case and you cannot pay the attorney, you still owe the money and will be required to pay your former attorney unless you can get your ex-spouse to pay. You do this by agreeing to have the former attorney file a Borson Motion to request your ex-spouse pay your attorneys fees from your ex-spouse’s share of the settlement. A Borson Motion is a request for an order by a client’s former attorney to have the other party pay a former client’s attorney fees. Why would a client or the client’s new attorney oppose that? It restores a respectful relationship with the former attorney and reduces the former client’s liability for the attorneys fees. Sometimes client’s are so angry they want to hurt the former attorney and think they can thwart his/her collection by refusing to allow the Borson Motion. But liability continues and if the ex-spouse does not pay, they you will. Others will conspire with the ex-spouse to avoid paying the former attorney thinking they will keep the money for themselves, but the debt stays with them, not the ex-spouse.. A Borson motion shifts the debt to the ex-spouse requires little effort on the part of the client other than to cooperate in the motion and confirm the billings as reasonable and necessary. The attorney does the rest. If the motion is successful, your fees are paid by your ex-spouse. Here is how a Borson motion works. 1. Before filing the Substitution of Attorney, the former-attorney prepares and files the Borson Motion and sets a hearing date. Attached declarations confirm the amount due and that the client has reviewed and approved the billings. 2. At the hearing or by agreement with the opposing attorney (OPA)and the new attorney (if any) there will be a court order or stipulation by all the attorneys that the matter will be reserved to time of trial or settlement. All parties, the court, former client, OPA and new attorney agree to give the attorney notice of any settlement discussions, proposed agreements or trial dates. At that time the court or the attorneys of record will reset the Borson motion for hearing before the court unless the ex-spouse agrees to pay the fees. 3. If not notified by the court or attorneys, the attorney will file a Notice to Reset the motion and get a hearing date on the Borson Motion. The Borson Motion will be attached as Exhibt A and all attorney of record or client in pro per will be notified of the new date. The attorney feebalance due will be updated for interest and late fees to date + the daily rate until paid. The court will consider the matter and order the ex-spouse to pay some or all of the balance due, depending upon the circumstances of the assets and the ex-spouse’s ability to pay. That sum then becomes a debt owed by the ex-spouse and will be deducted from the amount you owe your attorney. After judgement your former attorney can collect the amount awarded from your ex-spouse including levy on the bank account and wage garnishment. The amount awarded by the court will earn interest at 10% statutory interest until paid in full. The former client’s debt to the former attorney is reduced and with some negotiation, may be eliminated altogether.

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