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Who Has to Pay Attorney Fees?

The general rule in Illinois court cases is that each side pays his or her own attorney fees. However, in family law cases, judges have a lot of power to decide if one side should contribute to the other side's attorney fees. 

The Court's Power in the Initial Proceedings

Family law cases are held in equity. Therefore, a judge is charged with making fair decisions. Still, this does not mean that things have to be split evenly. Instead, judges look at all of the circumstances and make decisions after taking all factors into account.

In a divorce case, if one side has the majority of the income and most of the assets are in his or her name, the judge may decide to order that person to pay some or all of the attorney fees for the other side. This is done as a matter of fairness. Judges may also take into account the bad behavior of one side or another when deciding to award attorney fees.

What Happens During Modifications and Enforcement Actions

In many cases, the initial divorce or paternity case is not the last time the two parties end up in court. One side may file a motion for a modification or to enforce an earlier order from the court. As part of a modification case, one side can ask for attorney fees. For example, if one side claimed that there was a change in circumstances that warranted a change in the parenting time or custody arrangement, but the court later found that there was not a change in circumstances, the court will likely grant the winning side's request for the payment of attorney fees by the losing side.

Enforcement actions occur when one side files a motion alleging that the other side is not following the court's order. This often involves failure to pay child support or alimony. If the side that files the motion is able to show that the other person is not complying, judges may require the losing party to start complying with the order and pay the attorney fees for the person that had to file a motion with the court.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Illinois Family Law Lawyer Today

If you have questions concerning any family law issue, please contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law lawyer. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500 to schedule your consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

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1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189

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