Many clients ask whether they can ask the Florida court for an order directing their ex-spouse to pay their attorney’s fees from the divorce case. Florida law provides that although each party is ultimately obligated to pay their attorney’s fees in a divorce, the judge can order one party to pay a portion or all of the other party’s legal fees. (Florida Statute 6.16) This is commonly referred to as “fee shifting” and it is a tool that is used to ensure that both spouses have equal access to competent representation. In other words, fee shifting is used to level the playing field between the divorcing spouses.
It should be noted that if you have a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, it can impact your ability to seek and recover your legal fees. You should review your marital contract to determine if there is a provision covering the payment of legal fees in the event of divorce. If you are currently negotiating a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, you should contact us to discuss whether or not you want to include this type of clause in your contract.
A Florida court will consider the financial resources of both parties in determining whether to award the payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of one party by the other. The court will also look at how the assets and debts were divided between the couple. The judge may make a partial award or a full award. The Florida courts are granted broad discretion in deciding whether or not to award legal fees in a divorce case.
If attorney’s fees are awarded, the court will determine what constitutes a reasonable hourly rate and multiply that by what the court considers a reasonable amount of time for your attorney to provide divorce services.
If you are interested in learning whether you should request the recovery of your attorney’s fees in your divorce filing, contact us to schedule an initial consultation. Our approach to family law is quite simple: we listen to you; we return your calls promptly; we keep you prepared and informed; we respect your time; we understand your concerns; and, most importantly, we care.