Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law 237 (a) an award of counsel fees is “an issue controlled by the equities and circumstances of each particular case, and the court reviews the financial circumstances of both parties together with all the other circumstances of the case, which may include the relative merit of the parties’ position. The Court may also consider whether either party has engaged in conduct or taken positions resulting in delays of the proceeding or unnecessary litigation.” See Prichep v. Prichep, 52 AD3d 61, Mueller v. Mueller, 113 AD3d 660, Carr-Harris v. Carr-Harris, 98 AD3d 548, DeCabrera v. Cabrera-Rosete, 70 NY2d 879, Guzzo v. Guzzo, 110 AD3d 765, Khan v. Ahmed, 98 Ad3d 471.
As the non-monied spouse, you may be entitled to attorney’s fees, however, in most cases, you are responsible for the initial retainer to start the case. Your attorney can then file a motion to request a contribution toward attorney’s fees from the monied spouse, or a distribution of assets to pay attorney’s fees. It should be noted that the use of marital funds to pay attorney’s fees is not a violation of the automatic stay, however, there may be an adjustment at the conclusion of the case in monies distributed to equalize the distribution of marital assets.