High Net Worth Divorce: If Your Spouse is Rich, The Court Will Usually Make Them Pay For Your Divorce Lawyer
In high net worth divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to “own” a disproportionate share of the marital property. I put own in quotes because technically, anything produced during your marriage is jointly owned regardless of who actually brought it home.
But in a situation where you are in a high net worth divorce when your spouse is rich but you are not you can get financial assistance from said spouse so don’t panic. The courts will order interim spousal support during the pendency of a divorce action. You and your attorney will have to discuss this but basically you will need to ask the court for interim counsel fees which basically means you will have to have your attorney do a motion or order to show cause for pendente lite relief. If the motion is successful, the court will order your husband to cut your attorney a check during the pendency of the divorce action. That is assuming that there is a wide discrepancy between your income/networth and that of your husband’s (and sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be that wide). But typically, the financial need will have to be demonstrated to the court.
It is easy imagine in these high net worth divorce scenarios that if one spouse is totally financially dependent on their spouse, it will be easy to demonstrate. For example, if you are the stay at home parent and the other spouse goes out and brings home the bacon, this should be easy to demonstrate.
The idea is that you can’t have a spouse with means litigating a divorce at the advantage of a spouse with no means. Because in fact it is a myth that the dependent spouse has no means. The marital property is jointly owned in most circumstances no matter which spouse holds the purse strings. But it does get complicated and some spouses try to play dirty and block off the other spouse from the cash and other assets.
The courts will level the financial playing field in these high net worth divorce cases to protect the dependent spouse from being railroaded – and especially when there are kids involved. You will definitely be able to get interim financial assistance for all of that – not just for your counsel fees. So you don’t have to feel stranded. But you do have to do a motion or order to show cause in most circumstances.
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