Serving Clients in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Loudon, Sevier & Roane Counties

Can I Get My Ex to Pay for My Divorce?

The cost of divorce is important to consider before beginning the process. While there are ways to lower that cost, many people wonder, “Can I get my ex to pay for it?” The short answer is: yes, though it depends on your situation.


1. If the Court orders your spouse to do something or to refrain from doing something, and they disobey the order, then they may be subject to Motion for Civil Contempt. Courts often award the person who wins such a case attorney fees from the other person.

2. If your spouse refuses to answer questions that your lawyer asked after being ordered to do so, they may be ordered to pay the attorney fees you paid your lawyer to force them to answer the questions through a Motion to Compel Discovery.

3. If you prevail in a child custody case, the Court may award attorney fees, especially if the Court finds that your spouse’s position was unreasonable or that they needlessly cost the other side time and money.

4. If you are “economically disadvantaged” – meaning that you have a lot less money than your spouse – the Court can award attorney fees as a form of alimony.

5. Generally, if the Court finds that a party’s position is unreasonable, or intended to harass or bankrupt the other side, the Court may award attorney fees.


To get an award of attorney fees, the Court must also find that the fees are reasonable and necessary. That means that you are probably going to have to pay your lawyer’s fee ahead of time. Then, you’ll ask the Court review the fee to determine whether any of the above five rules apply. Other considerations are whether your lawyer didn’t waste time or over-charge you, and that you had little choice but to incur the fee.

So, when selecting a lawyer, make sure they are worth the money you pay.  Make sure you understand the calculations behind charges. Make sure your lawyer advises you honestly as to whether one of these circumstances applies.  Ask how often your lawyer is able to those fees reimbursed.  The answer, if they are honest, is going to be not often.  Judges tend to follow the “American Rule,” which says that each side pays for their own lawyer, far more often than they award fees.  To get these fees, you are going to need a lawyer with a reputation for being reasonable and honest.

Give us a call.  We can set an appointment to discuss whether your case is eligible for an award of fees.