In divorce cases, sometimes one party may not have the financial ability to retain an attorney. Such party may request that the court order the other party if they have the means “to pay a reasonable amount to allow the unrepresented party to retain an attorney…”

Generally, when such requests are made, the court shall find out “whether an award of attorney’s fees and costs… is appropriate.” The court also determines whether there is a big discrepancy in the parties’ access to funds to retain counsel, and whether one party will be able to pay for the legal fees of both parties [California Family Code § 2030 (a) (2)].

In short, the court has to make sure that one party is significantly more capable of shouldering the expenses, and the other is unable to pay such expenses before granting the request of having one party pay for the attorney’s fees and costs of the other. Therefore, if the court finds both parties financially able to retain their own legal counsels, then the court may not order the other to pay the other’s attorney’s fees and costs.

Talk to an experienced divorce and family lawyer for better understanding of divorce and other court processes related to it.