My Husband Controls all the Money Am I Entitled to Legal Fees?

PRUDENTI, P.J.When an action for a divorce in New York is commenced, it is often the case that most of the marital assets available for the payment of legal fees are possessed or controlled by one of the spouses, usually the husband. In order to ensure that the parties will have equal access to skilled legal representation, the Domestic Relations Law authorizes awards of interim counsel fees to the nonmonied spouse during the course of the litigation. Because of the importance of such awards to the fundamental fairness of the proceedings, we hold that an application for interim counsel fees by the nonmonied spouse in a divorce action should not be denied – or deferred until after the trial, which functions as a denial – without good cause, articulated by the court in a written decision. [*2]

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