Attorney’s Fees in a Domestic Relations Case

dried-mudSometimes it is essential to have an attorney represent you in a divorce or family law case. If you are one of those people then you are probably intimately aware of how expensive an attorney is. As I’ve said before, the courts in Colorado really try hard to make it possible for regular people to navigate the difficult divorce process without an attorney, but it is still a difficult process and sometimes an impossible one. As essential as it is to have an attorney, does sometimes come at a great cost.  (That is why it is important to choose your attorney wisely!)

One of the difficulties in dealing with the issue of attorney’s fees is that it becomes yet another issue that the parties in a divorce or family law case have to argue about.  Colorado Revised Statutes, section 14-10-119, says that the Court can order one party to pay for the other party’s attorney’s fees based upon financial considerations.  That means that in some divorce cases, or even in post-decree cases long after the parties were originally divorced, you can end up having one party paying for both attorneys, purely based on the parties’ financial affairs.

(There are other statutes in divorce and family law cases, deriving from civil cases in general, that also deal with attorney’s fees.  Again, this is one of those things that is not so simple.  But 14-10-119 is the most common in family law.)

This provision can make otherwise straightforward divorce or family law cases very hard settle.  It is easy to see why.  Sometimes it is a relatively obvious case where one party should pay for the other party’s attorney’s fees; for example, where only one spouse has a very high earning potential compared to the other one — but understandably, having to pay money directly to your opposing spouse’s attorney is a hard pill for any person to swallow, regardless of the situation.  Other times the issue of attorney’s fees is not so obvious, and the two sides have a legitimate disagreement on whether 14-10-119 applies.  But in many cases, especially ones that last longer than a few months, attorney’s fees can become so high for both sides that the issue of paying for the other side’s attorney’s fees becomes the most financially heavy aspect of the case.

First, that is why mediating your case as opposed to resorting to litigation is most important, because you can avoid the long, drawn-out battles that do nothing but increase you and your spouse’s lawyer bills.  Secondly, if you are one of those people fighting over a large attorney bill, I will be happy to help you and your spouse come to a workable solution on that as well, so that you can at least avoid going to that final hearing, and stop throwing good money after bad moneyContact me to schedule your mediation today.


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