Nicola Family Law Divorce Attorney

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681 Goodlette Road North Suite 210 Naples FL 34102 US

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Attorney'sFees

Another frequently asked question is "will my spouse be responsible for paying my attorney's fees"?  Under normal circumstances, where two parties are of relative financial means, the answer is "no".  There are, however, exceptions to that.  


Attorney's fees based on need and ability to pay:  Section 61.16, Florida Statutes, provides that the Court can award attorney's fees, suit money and  costs after considering the financial resources of each party.  


Oftentimes, if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, or has greater assets than the other which can be utilized to pay attorney's fees, the Court can award all, or part of the attorney's fees, suit money and costs, to the other spouse.  This does require a hearing and requires testimony from both parties about their respective abilities to pay and the amount of fees necessary on a temporary, or permanent basis.


Wasteful or frivolous litigation:  The Court can award attorney's fees and costs where one party has engaged in wasteful or frivolous litigation.  This is usually a finding the one spouse or the other has somehow prolonged the proceeding, or thwarted the process, through his or her behavior.  In that event, the Court may award the other spouse all, or a portion, of his or her fees to represent the client during these proceedings.  



The entire text of Section 61.16, Florida Statutes, can be found at www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/61.16