The Trial Court in Patel awarded the wife $69,000 in interim fees because she could not afford to pay her own attorney’s fees. Under the Statute governing domestic relations, there is a way to seek attorney’s fees from your spouse. Ask us to send you Sections 508 and 501(c-1) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. (750 ILCS 5/508, 501(c-1)). Although I’ll use the word “spouse” in this article, the law also pertains to couples in a parentage action.
Under this Statute, attorney’s fees may be awarded to you while your case is still pending. Typically, no evidence is taken by either you or your spouse at the fee hearing, so it will be important to have important facts brought to your attorney’s attention. First, there will need to be a finding that you cannot afford to pay your attorney’s fees, but that your spouse can.
Your attorney will need to know if your spouse has access to funds, and those funds can be from an account that is “non-marital.” Non-marital accounts can be those monies given to your spouse from his family, or funds that your spouse had prior to your marriage. Any monies that your spouse receives from his family can be considered by the Judge. So the more information you can obtain for your attorney, the better your chances are in obtaining attorney’s fees from your spouse.
You should also gather evidence of your needs on a monthly basis. What types of items are you responsible to pay? Include not only your housing expenses, but expenses that deal with your standard of living as well. How many times do you typically eat at restaurants? Do you normally engage the services of a nanny, or a maid?
You are entitled to “level the playing field” with your spouse. The law is trying to equalize the payments that your spouse makes to the other attorney, so that you are not taken advantage of due to lack of funds.