How Do You Plan and Prepare for Attorney Fees in Divorce Case?

There is a step by step process and we will show it to you

How Can You Prepare for the Attorney's Fees in Your Divorce?

The answer is to create a strategy for settling the issues in the divorce that should be settled and identifying those that may not. After doing this, your attorney can create a settlement and litigation plan consistent with that strategy. Let's get into this in detail, and we will show you how the best divorce attorneys help their clients.


Navigating a divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging. Creating a strategy to settle certain issues while preparing for others that may require litigation is crucial.

Understanding Your Financial Concerns

Lower Income Earners

If you are a lower-income earner, affording the divorce may be a concern. You should learn how to request fees against your spouse.

Higher Income Earners

As the higher income earner, you may worry about covering both your attorney's and your spouse's fees. You fear your spouse may ask the court to order you to pay her attorney's fees. You should read how to defend against a fee request by your spouse.

Strategic Settlement and Litigation Planning

graphic of two credit cards and the words manage attorney's fees the smart way

Mitigating Attorney's Fees by Distinguishing Undisputed and Disputed Issues

Any experienced divorce lawyer's first step is identifying which issues can be settled and which may require court intervention. This approach limits or eliminates some attorney's fees.

  • Child Custody and Visitation: If these issues are likely to go to a formal hearing, evaluate each concern. What is actually in dispute? Legal custody or parenting time? If it is not legal custody, then resolve that. If it is parenting time, how far apart are the parents in their disagreements?
  • Complex Custody Issues: If the case has complex issues, consider whether a forensic psychologist or a lawyer for the children is necessary and determine what investigations might be needed to resolve or litigate them. These complex custody cases may involve serious allegations such as drug abuse, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or child endangerment.
  • Child Support, Alimony, and Property Division: These issues can often be resolved with mediation and communication, reducing the need for costly court battles unless they are complex.
  • Complex Child Support, Alimony, and Property Division: Facts that may make these issues complex include hiding income, misrepresenting income, separate property claims, reimbursement claims, breaches of fiduciary duty, and others. These complex issues may result in experts such as forensic accountants, independent business valuators, CPA or tax attorneys, appraisers, reasonable compensation experts, and more.

Financial Evaluations and Contributions

Higher vs. Lower Income Earner

Determining who is the higher income earner and who should contribute to the other's attorney fees is crucial. This helps ensure equal access to legal resources, known as "parity."

  • Lower Income Earner: Evaluate your spouse's income and assets to determine how much they should contribute to your attorney's fees.
  • Higher Income Earner: Assess your potential exposure to attorney's fee requests from your spouse to ensure you pay only what is reasonable or pay those fees from a community property source.

Liquidation and Division of Assets

Sometimes, liquidating or dividing assets may be necessary to cover attorney's fees. An experienced lawyer can help evaluate what assets exist, propose fair divisions, and, if needed, bring the issue to court.

Managing Attorney's Fees Through Effective Execution of a Plan

Importance of Follow-Through

Effective planning is only beneficial if followed by consistent execution. Attempting to resolve issues outside of court is often the best strategy. Settlement efforts must be in good faith. You cannot just give settlement lip service but not follow through. Family law judges appreciate efforts to settle disputes amicably, which can also support any attorney's fee requests if you need it or help you oppose one.

Dealing with Unreasonable Positions

If your spouse and their lawyer take unreasonable positions, cooperating with your lawyer and moving quickly to court can help obtain appropriate orders from a family law judge.

Some unreasonable spouses and lawyers incorrectly think that unreasonable settlement positions are somehow secrets the judge will never learn about. That is not correct. Through proper strategy and planning, you can bring your spouse's unreasonable settlement positions to the court's attention. You can even seek sanctions under Family Code 271.


Strategic planning and effective execution are key to managing attorney's fees in a divorce. You can navigate the process more efficiently by understanding your financial position and working with an experienced lawyer. Contact us today for an affordable strategy session to find solutions tailored to your needs.

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