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What happens if I can not afford a lawyer?
July 21, 2019
What happens if you cannot afford an attorney in your New York Divorce or Child Custody case?
The basis for a counsel fee award is predicated on the fact that the Law favors leveling the playing field so that one party does not benefit in the litigation by having more money to fight the case.
If you cannot afford an attorney and you are engaged in a divorce action, then you or your lawyer will have to make an application to the court for attorney’s fees. It is in the discretion of the court to award you fees, but the presumption is that you are entitled to counsel fees if you are the less moneyed spouse. The application must be a formal one and you must set forth the law that permits you to an award of counsel fees and the facts that support your application. Also, be sure to attach your sworn net worth statement and your tax return to the back of the application along with the anticipated amount of legal work that you believe your case will take, through to resolution or trial, together with an invoice, if any, of any legal work performed in advance of the application.
For interim motions if the attorney’s fees be granted, they are granted only temporarily. If the less moneyed party gets a hefty equitable distribution award the court may order reallocation of the funds paid out.
Counsel fees may also be applied for if there is a Court Order and your spouse is not abiding by the Order.
If you are in Family Court and you are the non-moneyed spouse or litigant for child custody you can ask the Court to appoint you someone from the 18B law guardian panel.
Your Manhattan Divorce Lawyer Lisa Beth Older!