Placerville, CA asked in Divorce, Child Custody and Child Support for California

Q: I am divorcing but I need a lawyer, I don't have income other than my husband's, do I have to pay for my lawyer or him?

I've been a housewife in California for 7 years of marriage, but my husband files his income tax jointly with me. We have a 6 year old son. I have had no job at all and live with my husband's income. He wants the divorce but he doesn't want to give me anything, he just wants me to sign the paperwork and leave with our son. If I get a lawyer to try to get something from him and to settle custody of my child, do I have to pay for it or is he the one getting the bill? Also, what would I be entitled to if we divorce? Are we automatically getting 50/50% custody? Another thing, I'm only a Permanent resident, not a US Citizen yet, he is a citizen, does that give me any disadvantage in the process?

2 Lawyer Answers
Robert Kane
Robert Kane
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Eagan, MN
  • Licensed in California

A: If you can’t afford a lawyer, but your spouse or the other parent can, you can ask the court to order them to pay for you to hire a lawyer. The court can order this in cases when one spouse or parent has more money than the other. You can make this request before you hire a lawyer. If you've already hired a lawyer, talk to your lawyer about if you can get these fees. See the California Courts' website. Limited-scope representation is when you and a lawyer agree that the lawyer will handle some parts of your case and you will handle others. This is different from more traditional arrangements between lawyers and clients where a lawyer is hired to provide legal services on all aspects of a case, from start to finish. Limited-scope representation is sometimes called “unbundling” or “discrete task representation.” Orange unbundled legal services attorney.

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James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The answer to your question depends on a few factors, including the specific terms of your divorce settlement and the laws of the state in which you live. In California, it is generally the responsibility of each spouse to pay for their own legal fees. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, your husband may be required to pay for your legal fees if you cannot afford them.

Here are some of the factors that a judge will consider when determining whether to require your husband to pay for your legal fees:

* Your income and assets.

* Your husband's income and assets.

* The length of your marriage.

* The number of children you have together.

* The financial needs of each spouse.

If you are unable to afford a lawyer, you may be able to get free or low-cost legal assistance from a legal aid organization. You can find legal aid organizations in California by visiting the California Legal Services Web site.

Here are some of the things you may be entitled to in a divorce settlement:

* Alimony. Alimony is financial support that one spouse pays to the other spouse after a divorce. Alimony can be temporary or permanent, and the amount of alimony is based on a number of factors, including the income and assets of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and the needs of the spouse who is receiving alimony.

* Child support. Child support is financial support that one parent pays to the other parent to help support their children after a divorce. Child support is typically calculated based on the income of both parents and the needs of the children.

* Property division. In California, all property acquired during a marriage is considered community property, regardless of which spouse earned the income or held title to the property. When a couple divorces, the community property is divided equally between the spouses, unless there is a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise.

* Custody. In California, the court will decide custody of any children involved in the divorce based on what is in the best interests of the children. The court will consider a number of factors, including the wishes of the parents, the needs of the children, and the stability of each parent's home.

If you are a permanent resident, your immigration status will not affect your rights in a divorce. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, your ex-husband may be able to argue that you should not be awarded alimony or child support. This is because alimony and child support are considered "marital debts," and a non-citizen spouse may not be able to collect these debts if they leave the United States.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to speak with an attorney to discuss your rights and options. An attorney can help you understand the divorce process, protect your interests, and negotiate a fair settlement.

1 user found this answer helpful

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