Can I make him pay legal fees if he continues to take me back to court?
When talking about divorce, there is almost nothing positive about the situation. We all hope that if we are going through that kind of thing that we’ll be able to do so as painlessly as possible. The fact of the matter is that usually, hurt feelings are going to get in the way at some point or another. We find that even if we agreed to separate amicably at first, there is suddenly a fight here and a fight there. The real problem is when these fights are more than just a war of words. The real, expensive problem is when these fights are being done in the courts.
Certainly, there is a time and a place when the courts can come in handy. A judge really can step into a situation where the two sides are simply not able to agree on how they should be handling a situation. Sometimes this is dividing up the marital assets. Other times it’s something even more high-stakes like child support and child visitation. The more high-stakes the issue is, the better chance there is going to be a need to involve the courts.
On occasion, someone might decide the only way to decide anything is to go back to court. Other times, there can be the decision that the mere threat of court is a good way to get the former spouse to settle to an agreement they might not ordinarily pay. Suddenly a wife might find herself being served with papers to head to court on an almost weekly basis. There comes a point in time when the question has to be asked whether the court is doing less to resolve the issues between the two parties and instead creating new issues.
A husband deciding that the best way to get his wife to agree to what he wants is by taking her to court over and over again is nothing new. It happens in cases for more often than you might think it does. This can be a costly process even when you aren’t factoring in things like lost time at work and the massive amounts of stress stepping into a courtroom can cause a person. The good news is that there is a recourse if you believe he really is taking you back to court, just to try and cause you harm and cause you stress.
If the court believes he is being malicious, the judge may determine that he is a “Vexatious Litigant.” Once this ruling has been found, the judge will have to approve any additional filings before they can be served on you. Most lawsuits will have, somewhere in the filing, that the other person has to pay for the court fees that have been incurred. On very rare occasions, the judge might end up deciding that the filings have been very one-sided and that there did indeed appear to be more malicious intent than a desire to really come to a harmonious conclusion.
The bad news is that judges don’t tend to want to limit what someone can file in divorce and child supervision cases because they don’t want the appearance of limiting the rights of one person over another. A judge can order your ex to pay the fees if he keeps taking you back to court, but it’s usually in extraordinary circumstances.