Who pays the legal fees in a divorce?

Simply put, in almost all Louisiana cases, each party pays their own costs and fees.

This means – you pay for your attorney and filing fees and other costs, and your spouse pays for their attorney and filing fees and other costs.

Who pays filing fees in a Louisiana divorce?

If you want to file the divorce, be prepared to pay the filing fees and service costs – even if you don’t have an attorney.

If you need to file an answer to a divorce, you are responsible for the filing fees.  The same thing with each time you want to contest something, file a motion for contempt, or attempt to change a prior court order.  Or, if you want to oppose a filing, fight a motion for contempt, or fight any filing in the divorce proceeding.

A simple uncontested divorce may result in very few filing fees, but a contested divorce with child custody, child support, and/or property separation issues could result in filing fees really adding up.

How much do filing fees cost?

The next question is – well, what are the filing fees?  These are court dependent and set by the clerk of each court.

You can check out the filing fees for St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, Orleans Parish, Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, or other parishes at the Clerk of Court’s website or by calling the appropriate office.

How much does a divorce lawyer cost?

With regard to attorney fees – this is case-specific and will be dependent on a variety of factors.

Most family law attorneys charge an hourly rate, but they can vary very much from lawyer to lawyer.

The other factor is how much time the attorney spends on the case. Spouses arguing over everything from alimony and child support to minor things such as who gets the Yeti cooler can cause attorney’s fees to add up quickly.

Who pays divorce attorney fees in Louisiana?

In most divorce cases, each party is responsible for paying their own attorney’s fees.Divorce FAQ: Who Pays all of the Fees?

In an at-fault divorce, the at-fault party will not be ordered to pay the fees of the other party simply as punishment for cheating or other marital misconduct.

If one party continues filing unnecessary motions or drags proceedings out by refusing to cooperate, the judge may award attorney’s fees to the other party.  In these cases, the fee award would not pay for the entire divorce, just the extra time and court appearances caused by the bad faith of the party.

In some cases where one spouse makes much more money than the other, the judge may order the higher-earning spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other spouse.  Simply because it would not be fair for one party to battle against a high-powered attorney without be able to afford counsel of their own at all.

However, the judge will usually deduct what was paid for the attorney from your share of the joint assets when the property division is final.  Therefore, ultimately, the lawyer was paid out of your share of the money.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care