New wife ordered to pay ex-wife’s attorney’s fees

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In a divorce case where there is an imbalance as to the parties’ respective income and assets, the court may order the party with higher earnings or assets to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.  The court can make pendente lite (while the matter is pending) fees orders as well as orders at time of trial. A more detailed discussion regarding how to obtain family law attorney’s fees can be found here

In a recent decision, the court allowed a former wife to join her husband’s new wife as a party in their post-divorce matter.  The court subsequently ordered the new wife to pay to the former wife the attorney’s fees she incurred to litigate the case.  The court found that there were sufficient evidence connecting the new wife to the issues being litigated in the divorce matter.  In particular, the court found that the husband may have invested community funds into his business ventures which the new wife executed and spearheaded.  Because the new wife was the only individual who subsequently received benefits from these business ventures, the court found that the husband may have also fraudulently transferred community funds to his new wife through the business ventures.

The takeaway from this court decision is that a spouse with financial needs can obtain attorney’s fees not only from the other spouse but also from third parties, including the other spouse’s new partner, who directly or indirectly receives benefits from the parties’ community funds.

For questions relating to your family law matter, contact Torrance divorce attorney Anh Nguyen for a free telephone consultation.

****The opinion above is not intended to be legal advice and absolutely does not create any attorney-client relationship between its author and the readers. Please consult an attorney for information or advice specific to your legal issue.****

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