Often times, the supported spouse has a limited ability to fund his or her counsel fees at the beginning of a case, where many of the marital assets are in one spouse’s name, or are otherwise not “liquid” or available. This should not be a reason to attempt to handle your case without a lawyer, which will place you at a severe disadvantage. An experienced divorce lawyer can assist you in filing what is known as a “pendente lite” motion for counsel fees, which will either require the other spouse to pay the counsel fees from a marital asset, or out of his or her income. That same motion can be used to provide the supported spouse with temporary financial support until the divorce is resolved or there is a trial.
Consult with a lawyer before you decide whether or not you can afford one. You will likely conclude that you cannot afford not to hire a lawyer after you better understand your rights and obligations relative to a divorce.