It pays to approach your divorce with open eyes, so you can make a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Your income is an area that needs careful consideration. If there's a wide disparity in income between you and your spouse, the judge has broad latitude in ordering the more affluent party to pay the other's legal expenses. This is generally true, unless you're already paying your wife or husband enough maintenance to reasonably cover these expenditures. In fact, the court can award prepayment of fees to enable your spouse to take legal action against you. In this instance, a defense against an award of counsel fees is to prove that additional litigation would be wasteful, or result in unnecessary delays. Also, all legal costs your ex claims must be substantiated by a signed retainer agreement.