Divorce isn’t only an ugly process; it’s an expensive one, too. And not only have that, 21st-century divorces tended to last upwards of seven months to a year. And as one would imagine, many spouses cannot afford to pay their legal expenses, and when this occurs there are a few different ways of having those legal costs covered. At an average hourly rate of $250 an hour, the accumulative fees can mount up.

One recourse in deciding who pays for attorney fees and litigation costs is looking at total income by each spouse. In most states, if one spouse earns considerably more than the other, the court may order that they cover all the expenses throughout the divorce, in the sake of fairness.

Another method is tapping into properties, such as retirement funds and assets, but this is only a viable option if your spouse has no claims to the property. If the court decides that it is a marital asset and that your spouse has a legal right to share, you can’t liquidate that asset to cover legal fees.

Whatever the court decides, it is important to keep a few things in mind. No one benefits from a long, drawn out divorce, and more times than not, the spouse who makes more money and decides to use that to their advantage, is forced by the court to cover divorce attorney fees and legal expenses. For example, if the “money-maker” files motion after motion in an attempt to drain the other spouse’s funds to compel them just to give in to their demands and settle the case. The court takes caution in not allowing this to happen and has this rule in place to protect the spouse that has not yet been granted their motion to have their legal expenses covered.