Can’t pay your legal fees

You have options – talk to us.

The Family Court has the power to order a financially stronger spouse to make payments to the financially weaker spouse before final property settlement occurs.

The Court can make this payment under its powers to make orders for –

  • Spousal maintenance;
  • Property division;
  • Costs; or by way of
  • Injunctions to force someone to do an act, or prevent someone from doing an act.

Please refer to our spousal maintenance page for details on how to claim spousal maintenance.

If you are entitled to receive a property settlement, but you do not presently have access to your property (such as real estate or cash) or the income it may earn, the Family Court may order the other party to transfer property to you, or pay money to you by way of an advance against your final property settlement.

If you cannot pay your legal fees, the Court may order your spouse to make a contribution towards your legal costs if he/she has the capacity to do so. You can receive this amount by way of a lump sum, or periodically. The Court may make a “dollar for dollar” order. In other words, for every dollar that your spouse spends on his/her legal fees, he or she must pay you a dollar for your legal fees. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of order.

It is extremely important that you obtain proper legal advice to understand your rights and obligations.

Not the service you’re looking for? View All Our Legal Services.

Free 15 Minute Consultation

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


  • Consult with a specialist lawyer
  • Clear Communication
  • Achieve a better outcome
  • Minimise time spent in court