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Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Florida Divorce?
Who Pays Attorney Fees in a Florida Divorce?

If you are considering getting divorced, you are probably concerned with how much it is going to cost. This is especially true if you and your spouse are in a heated battle over custody, alimony or the division of your property.

Florida Statutes 61.6 provides as follows:

The court may from time to time, after considering the financial resources of both parties, order a party to pay a reasonable amount for attorney’s fees, suit money, and the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this chapter, including enforcement and modification proceedings and appeals.

The goal of this law is to ensure that parties in a divorce lawsuit be provided equal access to competent lawyers.

The District Court of Appeals of Florida, Second District, has ruled that there are three primary instances where attorneys’ fees cannot be awarded in a divorce case:

  1. If a separately filed domestic violence injunction case has been filed, a party is prohibited from recovering attorney’s fees from the opposing party. See Lewis v. Lewis, 689 So.2d 1271 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997). There is a domestic violence injunction law that also forbids a party from recovering attorney’s fees in those types of cases.
  2. If the party seeking to recover attorney’s fees has hired an attorney from a different jurisdiction and extended travel by the lawyer was required, these expenses are not recoverable.
  3. A party cannot recoup attorney’s fees for non-legal work. In the divorce case at issue, the attorney was physically removing certain items from the marital home and the court held that this time was not recoverable by the party as attorney’s fees.

Finally, it should be noted that in the Florida courts “the financial resources of the parties are the primary factor to be considered” in awarding attorney’s fees. Rosen v. Rosen, 696 So.2d 697, 700 (Fla.1997). Thus, if you make substantially more money than your spouse and you are concerned with whether or not she will be allowed to recoup her attorney’s fees in the divorce case, you should contact us. We can review your individual circumstances and help you understand your position and what strategy for your divorce will work best.

Men often find it difficult to find a divorce attorney who understands the unique male perspective on family law matters. If you are facing divorce or you have other family law needs, our legal team is here to help. Contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a caring professional, and aggressive advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child timesharing (custody), and paternity matters.