Will My Spouse Have to Pay My Attorney’s Fees in My Divorce?
While it is possible that your spouse will be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees in your divorce case, you should not rely on that possibility. It is just as possible that you will be ordered to pay your own attorney’s fees. A divorce judge has flexibility to both divide property equitably and order one spouse to pay all or a part of the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. For instance, a large discrepancy between the spouses’ respective incomes could result in an attorney’s fees award. The divorce court could order a husband with a substantial monthly income to pay the attorney’s fees of his wife who stayed at home to raise children and has not worked for the last 25 years.
Property Division and Alimony Awards Can Affect Attorney’s Fees Awards
With that said, an equitable property division that puts spouses in similar financial positions may lead a divorce judge to conclude that each spouse should be responsible for his or her attorney’s fees. For example, suppose one spouse is ordered to pay the other spouse a significant amount of alimony for a lengthy period of time and orders an equitable division of property. This court order equalizes the spouses’ respective incomes and financial situations. Therefore, it is likely that each spouse will be responsible for paying his or her own attorney’s fees in this type of situation.
Legal Standard for Awarding Attorney’s Fees
Florida law provides that a judge in a divorce case can order one party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees, after considering the financial resources of both parties. In this respect, the court should consider both the requesting spouse’s financial need and the other spouse’s ability to pay the attorney’s fees. If both spouses are equally able to pay attorney’s fees, then the court will not order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s fees.
Avoid Running Up Unnecessary Attorney’s Fees
Furthermore, if one spouse refuses all reasonable settlement proposals in favor of fully litigating the divorce case, the court may not be so quick to order the wealthier spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. Insisting on litigating issues that one spouse has reasonably offered to settle is likely to substantially increase the amount that each spouse will have to pay his or her attorney. However, this strategy is likely to backfire. A court is not likely to reward a spouse for unnecessarily running up bills that could have been minimized by reaching a settlement.
As a result, you should not rely on the hope that your spouse will be ordered to pay your attorney’s fees. Rather, you very well may be solely responsible for those fees. At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, we provide excellent legal services at a rate that you can afford. We routinely handle all aspects of Florida divorce law, in all types of situations. We have represented many clients in Florida divorces, and we know what it takes to achieve our client’s objectives. Please contact your Florida divorce lawyer by calling 954-800-2362, or fill out the online form located here.