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Contribution towards Attorneys’ Fees

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When going through a divorce, can your spouse be court ordered to pay your attorney’s fees? The answer lies at Wisconsin Statute, sec. 767.241 (1). “The court, after considering the financial resources of both parties, may do the following:
Order either party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party of maintaining or responding to an action affecting the family and for attorney fees to either party.” Under sub. (2) of the statute, this may also include sums for legal services rendered and costs incurred prior to the commencement of the proceeding or after entry of judgment.

Therefore, there is legal authority under Wisconsin law for a party to seek contribution for attorney’s fees in a divorce case. However, from a practical perspective, I have rarely seen this statute applied by the courts for an award of attorney’s fees. There most likely would have to be some exigent circumstances to convince the court that the other party should be responsible for payment of the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. In the case of a contempt action however, where the court finds the other party in contempt for violating court orders either during the divorce or in a post judgment divorce matter, it is routine in those situations, for the court to order the party to pay for the costs of attorney’s fees in bringing the contempt motion.

Going through a divorce? Do you have questions on how attorneys fees works or whether your spouse will have to pay your fees?  Call one of the lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. for a consultation today.

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