Can Your Arizona Spouse Be Ordered to Cover Your Attorney Fees?

Type of Article: Business and Finance Articles Summary: In a divorce scenario, the costs of the legal representation are typically borne by each party. However, there are exceptional circumstances where an Arizona court may instruct one party to pay some or all of the other party’s attorney fees. In this article, we will explore the possible scenarios where a court may require a spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other party.

What are Attorney Fees?

Attorney fees refer to the costs of legal representation in a divorce scenario. This includes the hourly rate charged by the attorney, as well as any related expenses such as court fees and filing fees. Generally, each party is responsible for bearing their own attorney fees. However, there may be situational circumstances where one party may be ordered to pay the other party's legal fees.

When Can a Spouse be Required to Pay the Other Spouse's Attorney Fees?

One scenario where a court may order a spouse to pay the other spouse's attorney fees is when there is a significant disparity in income. In such cases, the family law courts in Arizona have discretion to award "reasonable attorney fees" as necessary to ensure that both parties are properly represented. A higher-earning spouse is typically ordered to pay the legal fees of the lower-earning spouse to ensure that both parties have an equal opportunity in the representation.

When does the court Determine the award of Attorney Fees?

In Arizona, the court may make a decision on attorney fees during any stage of the divorce proceeding. Sometimes attorneys will motion for attorney fees to be paid, and other times the judge may determine that one spouse is at a disadvantage due to a significant disparity in income and order the higher-earning spouse to pay for the lower-earning spouse's attorney fees.

What Are the Other Scenarios Where A Court May Order Payment of Attorney Fees?

In addition to a significant disparity in income, a court may also require payment of attorney fees in the following situations:
  • If one spouse engages in conduct that unreasonably increases the cost of the divorce proceeding, the court may order reimbursement of some of the other party's attorney fees.
  • If a spouse unreasonably fails to comply with a request for information or documentation related to the divorce proceeding, the court may also require the other party to pay some or all of the requesting party's attorney fees.
  • If one spouse unreasonably delays the divorce proceeding, the other party may be awarded some or all of their attorney's fees incurred as a result of the delay.

How Does the Court Decide the Amount of Attorney Fees to be Paid?

The court examines numerous factors when determining the appropriate amount of attorney fees that one spouse must pay the other. The factors considered may include the length and complexity of the divorce proceeding, the reasonableness of the fees incurred, the necessity of the attorney fees, respective parties' incomes, and other relevant circumstances. The court may also conduct a hearing to review payment of attorney fees to be paid and ensure that the fees incurred were reasonable and necessary.

Can I Claim Attorney Fees After the Divorce?

It would be best to claim the attorney fees during the divorce proceeding. However, you can still pursue fees after a divorce decree, this is commonly referred to as a fee enforcement action.


Divorce can be a very complicated and difficult time for anybody, with the impending court proceedings and attorney fees adding fuel to the fire. However, understanding the circumstances that allow the court to require one spouse to pay for the other's legal fee could help you in planning around the divorce proceeding. This information should also help each party's attorney in ensuring that they receive reasonable compensation for the professional services they render.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.