Did you know that your ex-spouse may be ordered by the Court to pay your legal fees?

The Court may award a provision of payment to a party seeking an allowance for the costs of the instance in family matters, whether it is in the context of proceeding for divorce, separation from bed and board or procedures between common-law partners concerning an obligation for child support.[1]

A provision for the costs of the proceedings means that a party may be required to pay the other party a lump sum to cover some of his/her expenses. These lump-sum payments are used to pay court costs, attorney’s fees as well as the costs and expert fees of the opposing party.

However, one must note that the provision for the costs cannot be used to compensate for some lost wages or transportation charges in connection with the legal actions. [2]

Before granting an allowance for the costs of the proceedings, the Court should analyze certain criteria, namely « to a large extent, [the] relationship of proportionality between the needs and means of the party seeking the resources and the debtor. Will be particularly taken into account as an award criteria, the nature and the importance of the dispute, the arguments of the parties, the respective behavior of the parties, the amount of maintenance, protection of children’s rights, etc.»[3]

Also, it is important to mention that the advance on costs may be claimed and ordered only in the nature of dietary requests (child or spouse support).

The provision for costs allows a party involved in a family dispute to adequately ensure its representation and avoid certain iniquities. [4]

Text written by Me Virginie Damien


[1] Articles 502 et 588 du Code civil du Québec.
[2] Michel TÉTRAULT, La provision pour frais, 2005, La référence, EYB2005DRF54.
[3] Droit de la famille – 1532, 1998 CanLII 12660 (QC CA).
[4] Op. cit.