St. Petersburg Attorney’s Fees Lawyer
Divorce is expensive and there are instances in which one spouse cannot afford to pay the costs associated with the process. Still, the law recognizes that both parties in a divorce have the right to legal representation so each side is on equal footing. As such, one party in a divorce case can request that their spouse pay their attorney’s fees. The family courts have wide discretion when determining whether to require one party to pay the other side’s legal fees and they will consider all relevant factors. Below, our St. Petersburg attorney’s fees lawyer explains in further detail.
What Does the Court Consider when Awarding Attorney’s Fees?
Again, the family courts will consider any factor relevant to the case when determining whether to assign one party’s attorney’s fees to the other side. The factor given the most weight in a case is the relevant financial position of both sides. If one party is in a significantly better financial position than the other, this on its own is usually enough to award attorney’s fees.
Still, a person’s income is not enough grounds to award attorney’s fees. The spouse requesting the payment of their legal fees must prove that they have a need for the award. The court will also consider any property division, child support, and alimony awards that have impacted the financial situation of each party.
For example, if the party requesting the award is a much lower earner than their spouse, but has been awarded a significant amount of alimony, a judge may determine that an attorney’s fees award is not appropriate. The court will also consider non-marital property when awarding attorney’s fees.
Eligibility Requirements for an Attorney’s Fees Award
To be eligible for an attorney’s fees award, requesting parties must meet several requirements. These are as follows:
- The two parties must be married
- The court must have jurisdiction over the party ordered to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees
- The attorney’s fees award must be requested prior to the final judgment
- The party requesting the award must show a financial need, and the party paying it must have the ability to pay the fees
How to Request an Attorney’s Fees Award
If you wish to seek attorney’s fees, you should include the request within the original divorce petition or your response and include a financial affidavit. If your spouse consents to paying the fees or does not challenge the request, they will typically forfeit their right to deny payment of attorney’s fees in the future. When additional proceedings are necessary in the future, such as for enforcement or modifications of court orders, you must request an attorney’s fees award if you still have a financial need.
Our Attorney’s Fees in St. Petersburg Can Help with A Request
Whether you need to request that your spouse pays your attorney’s fees, or you need to defend against unfair requests for it, our St. Petersburg attorney’s fees at Greene & Greene can help. Call us now at (727) 821-2900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about your legal options.