On March 23, 2017, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion in In re: Marriage of Heroy wherein they helped clarify the law on when one party to a divorce must fully pay or contribute to the attorney’s fees of the other party. In prior decisions, Illinois appellate courts had upheld the denial of attorney fee petitions based upon an inability to pay but inability to pay had not been clearly defined. The Supreme Court stated that an inability to pay does not require having no assets or a zero balance bank account. Instead, an inability to pay the other party’s fees would exist only if payment of one’s own attorney’s fees would cause the litigant to become financially unstable or lose the means to support themselves.
Detailed statutory factors are used to determine how much one party must contribute to the other party’s attorney’s fees. These factors are complex and will vary from case to case. If you are involved in a divorce proceeding, you need a good family law attorney to help you determine whether the other side should be contributing towards your attorney fees. Feel free to contact us for more information.