Who is responsible for paying the lawyer’s fees during or after a divorce is a common question for lawyers. Women who are stay-at-home mothers and have no outside sources of income frequently raise this topic.
Alabama courts have the authority to grant spouses who otherwise cannot afford legal representation attorney fees. Alabama Code 30-2-54 justifies for a trial court to award legal expenses in a divorce or similar action. Make sure you get legal advice before making any decision.
When Can a Divorce in Alabama Award Legal Fees?
Before the court can grant legal representation, it must be clear that the recipient needs it and that the spouse compelled to pay the price can afford it. The trial court’s decision may be overturned on appeal if the party ordered to pay the fee cannot pay the solicitors’ fees. When deciding whether to grant attorney fees, Alabama courts have listed several factors to take into account, including but not limited to the following:
- The misbehavior—or lack thereof—of the husband or wife
- The income of the spouse and their capacity to pay for legal fees
- The capacity of the parties to pay their fees
- The parties’ sincere efforts to make their case or put forward a defense
- The trial’s duration
- Whether or not the divorce process included a discussion of custody
- The amount of time needed to get the case ready for trial
- The legal costs sought for the services provided by the attorney
How do Alabama Courts determine Attorney Fees?
The question of how much to award in attorney fees during a divorce procedure arises once the court has made that decision. When deciding whether or not to award legal fees to a divorced spouse in Alabama, the court will consider the following factors:
- The scope and financial significance of the attorney’s work
- the knowledge, expertise, and labor required during the divorce
- the length of time the divorce took
- the lawyer providing the legal services and their expertise, track record, and reputation
- Success attained by the lawyer
- The typical fee assessed in situations identical to yours in that jurisdiction.
- Evidence that the attorney fee was reasonable
- The knowledge and expertise of the court on the worth of the legal services provided by the attorney
- The parties’ financial capabilities
Should your Lawyer Demonstrate that the Legal fees are Reasonable?
The courts in Alabama have ruled that a requesting party is not required to justify the reasonable worth of an attorney’s services. The court is under no need or responsibility to pay an attorney fee; instead, your attorney must provide evidence of the attorney’s worth, time, and effort throughout the divorce case.