Attorney’s Fees in Texas Divorces
The decision to end a marriage often not only causes emotional turmoil but also leads to financial distress. For example, some people may be reluctant to hire an attorney or proceed with a divorce action due to fear of incurring substantial attorney’s fees. In Texas dissolution matters, though, the court has the authority to award one party attorney’s fees to mitigate the financial burden of divorce proceedings. If you or your spouse want to end your marriage and you are concerned about the cost of litigation, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer about your options. The skilled Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can inform you of your rights and help you to seek the most favorable outcome possible under the facts of your case.The Texas Courts’ Treatment of Property in Divorce Actions
Under the Texas Family Code (the “Code”), any property either spouse possesses or acquires during a marriage is presumed to be community property unless it is expressly deemed separate property or it falls under one of the enumerated exceptions to the community-property rule. The Code further provides that community property is subject to division in a manner that the court deems just and right. In other words, the courts may divide any property that belongs to both spouses in a manner that they deem fair. Generally, the courts do not make property distributions until the divorce is final. Attorney’s fees are one of the factors courts consider when determining how to disburse community property.Attorney’s Fees in Texas Divorces
Under the Code, the courts may award reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses to a party in a divorce action. Further, the court may order the responsible party to pay the fees directly to the attorney to avoid having the other party attempt to collect the fees before paying them to their attorney. The attorney can then can enforce the order by any means available for enforcing a debt. Notably, parties must request attorney’s fees in their original pleading in the divorce action, and, if they fail to do so, they may waive the right to recover such fees.
Parties can also request interim attorney’s fees, which are fees paid during the pendency of the divorce instead of after the divorce is final, via a motion for a temporary order. The court will issue an order granting a motion for interim fees if it deems it necessary and equitable.
Factors the Texas courts consider when determining whether to award attorney’s fees include the financial resources of both parties, including their income and earning potential. Typically, the courts will award attorney’s fees in cases where one spouse earns significantly more money than the other. The court may award attorney’s fees for other reasons as well, however. For example, if one party acts in bad faith by refusing to comply with discovery requests or fully disclose their assets or debts, declines to abide by court orders, or drains or hides community assets, the court may order that party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.Meet With an Experienced Dallas Attorney
Even if a married couple amicably decides to legally sever their relationship, they should retain skilled legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected. If you want to know if you or your spouse may be entitled to attorney’s fees if you decide to divorce, it is smart to meet with an attorney to assess your rights. The experienced Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group have ample experience helping parties safeguard their interests in divorce proceedings, and if we represent you, we will fight to help you pursue a just outcome. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available to meet clients for consultations at our Collin-County office in Plano. We frequently represent parties in divorce actions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, McKinney, Richardson, Frisco, Garland, and Irving. We also assist parties with family-law disputes in cities in Dallas, Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling us at 214.692.8200 or using our online form to set up a confidential conference.