My 17 year old son was recently arrested. He has a court appointed lawyer, however his father (we're divorced) wants to hire a private trial lawyer. The father also wants me to pay 50% of the cost. This issue wasn't addressed in our divorce settlement. I receive child support for my son's basic needs. Please advise.
State/Country relating to question: Massachusetts
Before I respond to my ex-husband, I'd like some feed back.
Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I am typing out my answer. Please remember that this is general information only, not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed.I am sorry for your son's situation. Can you please tell me who is the primary custodian for the child - you or the father?This not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
I have full physical custody & we share legal custody
Thank you for your reply. You did mention that you receive child support, so I should have immediately realized that you were the custodian - apologies.One more question - please - does the decree spell out who is to make legal decision and have the ability to file suit on his behalf?
No, in Massachusetts legal custody means we both make major decisions
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX sure.There is no statute in Massachusetts that specifically states who is to pay for the child in such a situation. Technically speaking, the father does not have to pay any more than the child support. So if you requested the attorney, you'd have to pay for one. However, it is the father requesting counsel, so can he make you pay 50%?The statute is mute, and there is no case law on point.You may file a Motion for Clarification with the Court. Remember that the family court is a court of equity, meaning fairness. The Court will apportion the legal debt between the two of you as it sees fit. And the Judge may decide to make him pay for the majority of it because it his idea.However, without an order from the Court, he cannot make you pay for it, so unless either of you files the motion and gets an answer, he has to pay for it if you refuse.I hope this finds you well. Please click Reply to Expert to keep talking, or rate my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Otherwise, reply to chat more until we are finished and you are ready to rate. I work very hard to formulate an informative answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
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