How Do I Get my Spouse to Pay Attorney Fees?

Posted: 11 September, 2019

There are a few situations in which the court can order your spouse to pay attorney fees for your divorce lawyer. These situations boil down to substantial differences in income or one spouse acting in bad faith.

If your spouse was the primary breadwinner, then the judge may order them to pay the divorce attorney fees. Keep in mind this could be all or just part of the fees. This can apply if you did not work during the marriage or made significantly less than your spouse. Nevada courts want both spouses to be on equal footing during the divorce process.

Another situation in which we’ve seen judges order one spouse to pay some of the other party’s divorce attorney fees is when one spouse is “acting in bad faith.” This is a legal term for one spouse being unreasonable. Unreasonable could mean needlessly dragging out the process with frivolous motions or untrue allegations. It could also be withholding documentation forcing the other spouse to pay for forensic accounting or to take the uncooperative spouse in front of a judge to force cooperation.

Finally, the other situation is if there is a substantial difference in income and the divorce case goes to trial. Then the judge will sometimes order the spouse with higher income to pay both attorney’s fees. However, most cases settle so this is rare.

Keep in mind that Nevada is a no-fault state for divorce. The judge cannot award attorney fees simply because one party initiated the divorce. For more information, read It’s His Fault, He Should Pay the Attorney Fees.


Divorce lawyer Laura Johns discusses whether a spouse can be ordered to pay attorney fees.