Who Pays the Attorney Fees in a Divorce in Tennessee?

Who Pays the Attorney Fees in a Divorce in Tennessee?

Divorce can be a huge undertaking for couples ready to go their separate ways. As with any major life change, it’s good to know all the facts and understand what you will need to do to best navigate your way through court proceedings and into your new life.

In many cases, one spouse generally makes more money than the other, and that could put the other spouse at a disadvantage during court due to attorney fees and other legal expenses here in Tennessee. In this article, we will take a closer look at  the factors that contribute to who is ultimately responsible for attorney fees during a divorce.

How Are Attorney Fees Calculated?

The total attorney fee depends on the services you require. Divorce cases often require many different services, even if they do not go to trial. These may include: court appearances, research, investigation, correspondence, conferences, settlement negotiations with your spouse’s attorney, preparation of pleadings and other legal documents, trial prep, and trial hearings.

Your attorney will advise you about a myriad of issues, such as your assets, income, expenses, and taxes. They will make recommendations about who gets what property and assets and how you can divide it.

Which Spouse Pays The Attorney Fees?

Even in the most civil of divorces, it can be a bit of a negotiation to determine which party pays for the attorney fees. If it is necessary to go to trial, the court can order one spouse to pay a portion of the other’s attorney’s fees in matters of alimony, child support, and child custody. 

All cases that involve minor children are required to undergo pre-trial mediation. Make sure to include all attorney’s fees in your mediation negotiations if you are seeking to have your spouse pay those for you. Even if you don’t have children under 18, you can still choose to go to mediation. Many couples choose to go into mediation, as the negotiation style allows  both parties to feel respected and heard throughout the process. Successful mediation can also help lower overall costs, including attorney’s fees. 

What If I Can’t Pay Due To Financial Hardship?

If your divorce is about to go to trial and you have no means of paying due to financial hardship via not having control over money that you and your spouse share, you may be able to ask the court for ‘pendente lite.’ This means your spouse will be ordered by the court to pay your divorce attorney fees at the beginning of the divorce proceedings. This is also known as temporary spousal support.

How Much Do Divorce Lawyer Cost In Tennessee?

Attorneys in Tennessee typically charge their clients by the hour. Hourly rates can differ dramatically from attorney to attorney, so make sure to know the fee structure before you hire your attorney. 

Hourly rates for divorce attorneys can range from $150 per hour to over $500 per hour, however a higher hourly rate doesn’t necessarily guarantee better experience, service or quality. Some attorneys may charge a different hourly rate depending on how complicated a case may be. Some attorneys charge different rates for different stages in the process as well, so it’s very important to ensure you are staying abreast of the hours billed and rates throughout the process.

How Much Are Court Costs In Tennessee?

Court costs alone can range from $250 – $500 if the case is totally uncontested, but be advised that court costs can vary greatly depending on the county, so make sure to be aware of that before you go into court. If your divorce requires more hearings or other services, the court costs can increase substantially, so be sure to contact the court or discuss these with your attorney. Keep in mind that court fees can be waived under certain circumstances.

Court costs aside, be aware you may have to pay additional fees pertaining to court reporter fees, subpoena services, expert’s fees, deposition transcription fees and other associated costs. 

Professional Advice from Quality Attorneys

Divorces get messy. You need an experienced divorce attorney who is an expert in family law—someone who will help you set realistic goals—someone that you trust.

Whether you’re filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you. It’s a very vulnerable and confusing place to be in, which is why you need the best legal counsel possible to navigate all the ins and outs of divorce law.

Attorney Hunter Fowler has provided legal services to many individuals in your exact situation and will work with you through every detail of your divorce proceedings to ensure the final outcome is what you want for yourself and your family. Contact Hunter Fowler today to get the legal counsel you deserve.