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Law Offices Of David Bliven
Law Offices Of David Bliven
  • White Plains Office 19 Court Street
    Suite 206
    White Plains, NY 10601
  • Bronx Office 3190 Riverdale Avenue
    Suite 1
    Bronx, NY 10463

Breaking Free Financially

Image of a man and woman with a piggy bankWhen You Have a Spouse with Complete Financial Control

Navigating the complexities of divorce, especially when your spouse holds financial control, can feel like an uphill battle. Seeking legal counsel can help, but it doesn’t magically change the fact that you’re still financially dependent, at best. Fortunately, there are courses you can pursue, even if you find yourself in these circumstances. If you need to hire a divorce attorney without your spouse knowing, consider the following avenues of recourse before giving up as you trudge through the many financial considerations in your New York divorce.

1) Apply For A Credit Card

If your spouse is the primary earner or controls most of the assets, you can apply for a credit card using their income and assets on the application. Since marital property is presumed to be jointly owned, even if it’s titled solely in your spouse’s name, you can include this information on the credit card application without fear of doing so being considered credit card fraud.

2) Borrow From Family or Friends

If you’re unable to secure a credit card, you can borrow money from family members or friends to fund your legal representation. This can provide you with the necessary resources to hire an attorney without needing to involve your spouse.

3) Legal Financing Companies

If you can’t get what you need from family and friends for whatever reason, consider looking into a company that specializes in providing loans for legal expenses. They will assess your case and may offer you a loan based on the potential outcome of your divorce proceedings. However, be cautious of the terms and conditions associated with these loans.

In one experience, I was able to assist a client who was only around 18 years old at the time, with no significant assets or employment history to his name. Despite this, a legal financing company evaluated the potential case and gave him a $20,000 loan based on the estimated outcome of approximately $100,000.

As enticing as this may sound, it’s essential you approach such arrangements with caution. Legal financing companies typically secure their loans with a lien on the potential proceeds of the case, and borrowers are required to sign loan agreements detailing terms and conditions, including provisions for repayment and consequences for default.

4) Office Of The Self-Represented

Many Supreme Courts in the greater New York City area have offices dedicated to assisting individuals who cannot afford legal representation. You can seek help from volunteer attorneys who may assist you in drafting motions for counsel fees or assign you a pro bono attorney. The Office of the Self-Represented is where you can find this assistance.

This application, known as a “poor person motion,” typically requires an affidavit stating the applicant’s lack of income, property, or assets available for legal expenses. It should also outline previous attempts made to secure funding, including unsuccessful attempts to secure a loan. The purpose of this motion is to request the assignment of a pro bono attorney and assistance with legal fees.

Once an attorney is assigned, they will review the details of your case, including income, assets, and properties involved. If it becomes evident your spouse is the party with greater financial resources, the attorney may proceed to file a counsel fee application to ensure fair representation and compensation for their services in the case. This process aims to ensure access to legal representation for all facing financial constraints during legal proceedings.

If both spouses face financial challenges, securing funds to hire a private attorney might prove difficult, if not impossible. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to consider representing yourself or seeking assistance from pro bono attorneys or legal aid organizations. While the Legal Aid Society does provide representation for individuals with limited financial means in divorce cases, their resources may be relatively limited.

Explore these options and determine the best course of action for your specific circumstances before losing hope. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney is important for protecting your interests during the divorce process, and these avenues can help you access legal representation even if your spouse controls the finances.

5) Loans

Taking out loans before or during a divorce to cover living expenses and attorney fees is, from a legal perspective, a low-risk thing you can do if you need to. Here are some possibilities to consider when weighing up the pros and cons of doing so:

Bank Loans

Banks may extend loans based on your assets or property, even if they are considered marital property, as mentioned earlier. Discuss the particulars with your bank to explore options before taking any loan, though.

Home Equity Loans

If you have property in your name, you can request a home equity loan. However, if the property is jointly owned, you may need your spouse’s permission or court approval.

Before taking out any loans, it’s essential to consult with your attorney. They can provide guidance on the best course of action and help explore alternatives.

Finally, you may be eligible to request counsel fees, alimony, or child support from the court, which could alleviate the need for a loan. Some attorneys will agree to take your case on a reduced fee – and thus promptly make an application to the Judge requiring your spouse to reimbursement the attorney’s fees s/he would otherwise charge to you. Discussing your options with your attorney can help you make informed decisions regarding your financial situation during the divorce process.

For more information on Financial Considerations In A New York Divorce, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 362-3080 today.

Law Offices Of David Bliven

Call Now To Schedule A 20-minute Case Assessment
Or Full 50-minute Case Strategy Consultation!
(347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080