Yes: In Florida, a Divorce Attorney’s Fees Can Now Be Recovered
Effective July 1, 2008, Florida laws changed relating to equitable distribution of marital assets. This includes the award of attorney fees and costs to the other spouse in certain situations. This law holds great impact for both sides in a divorce.
The new law promotes fairness in divorce cases by giving a needy spouse – who does not have the money to retain legal counsel – the same opportunity as the wealthier spouse to hire a skilled Orlando divorce attorney who is competent to handle all aspects of their case.
How Does This Work?
When there is a big disparity in income between the two spouses, and the spouse with the smaller income is not financially able to pay their Orlando divorce attorney’s fees, the individual with better income can be forced by the court to pay some or all of the other’s attorney’s fees.
Awarding of attorney’s fees is usually made at the end of a case. However, temporary attorney’s fees may be awarded before the divorce is finalized. To do this, the judge will consider the amount of work the attorney has done up to that point, and predict the work required to resolve the case. In these cases, the spouse must pay the lawyer’s fees as work is being performed.
Another situation is when one spouse resorts to excessive or frivolous litigation, or bad faith or contemptuous conduct. This can either negate an attorney’s fees order or cause the award of fees to the spouse who engaged in such conduct.
If you have questions or are uncertain whether you may be able to recover attorney’s fees and costs, contact the New Future Divorce & Family Law Firm today for accurate answers.
What is the Difference Between Orlando Divorce Attorney “Fees” and “Costs”?
Fees are the payment an attorney earns for the legal services performed in the case. Think of them as wages earned for the work done. In Florida divorce cases, these are usually either hourly fees or fixed fees. As Orlando divorce attorneys, our fees cannot be on contingency basis, or based on a percentage of the property and assets recovered in divorce.
In a divorce where the spouses are already in agreement on all matters—including child support, property division and parenting plans—an attorney can set a fixed fee, with the provision that all matters remain uncontested until the divorce is finalized. In complex or contested divorces, it is clear that a fixed fee would be impractical.
Costs are expenses other than money paid to the attorney for his or her labor. These expenditures are costs the attorney pays to outside parties to develop and continue a case. Costs can include court filing fees, court reporters, messenger fees, investigators fees, process server’s fees, photocopying by a third party service, travel expenses, expert witness fees and other similar charges.
Florida Law Aims to Place Both Parties at Equal Access to Legal Counsel.
In all cases, the award of Orlando divorce attorney fees and costs is within the discretion of the court. The New Future Divorce & Family Law Firm is ethically bound to represent your interests, and this includes protecting you from undue fees and costs assigned to your case. Our law firm offers payment plans that may help ease to costs of your case.
When we review the circumstances of your case, we will discuss the Orlando divorce attorney fees offered by our firm so you will know the anticipated charges and the time expected to resolve your case.