Using Marital Assets to Pay for your Divorce

Can I use money from my joint account to pay for my Divorce? Can I get my spouse to pay for my divorce?

The financial part of divorce can be overwhelming to many clients. Many clients did not handle the finances in their marriage, did not work during their marriage, or are generally unaware of what they can and can’t do with joint funds during divorce proceedings.

In Massachusetts, when a party files for divorce an automatic financial restraining order is used with the summons that is served on the other party. The automatic restraining order restricts either party from selling, transferring, encumbering, assigning, removing or in any way disposing of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party. However, there are few notable exceptions to this rule, one being that either party can use funds for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in connection with the action. This means that any joint funds could be used within reason to pay for your divorce.

That being said, we often suggest that if a client knows they are going to file for divorce, that they set aside some money into a personal account for fees and costs prior to filing for divorce. This method prevents a potentially contentious argument about using money directly for your joint accounts.

Additionally, clients often ask if they can have their spouse pay for the divorce. If there is a large income disparity, the moving party can motion the court pursuant to M.G.L.C Chapter 208, Section 17 to receive alimony during the pendency of the action, which could be used to pay attorney’s fees.

It is important to remember that if the parties have the ability to pay on their own, either through savings, income, or loans and credit, then the court would prefer that each party pay their own fees.

For more information, call David Gabriel & Associates at 978-998-6830.

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