Saturday, June 22, 2013

Can an ex be ordered to pay for legal fees in Family Court?

Q:  My ex continues to interfere with my visitation with our son. I've filed for enforcement before and recently filed enforcement and modification in court. Since filing, interference from my ex on my visitation continues. I plan on filing another enforcement and an Order to Show cause. My ex makes much more money than me and navigating through the legal process is becoming difficult since I am pro se. If I obtain counsel (I would have to borrow from family) can I petition for me ex to pay for the expenses? Do judges normally grant these requests or is it difficult?

A:  David's Answer:  Yes, Family Court may grant counsel fees. If based on a disparity of income, the court would need to consider the support he provides you for the child. The Court would also need to consider whether you would otherwise have the ability to have assigned counsel (for instance, if your income is below about $35-40,000). For a full assessment of your situation, I highly suggest that you schedule a free consultation with a Westchester Child Custody attorney.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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