Written by: Lenorae Atter, Attorney at Law
In a Florida divorce, there are often concerns posed by potential divorcees about legal fees. Hiring an attorney can be beneficial to the preservation of your rights as they relate to alimony, child support, child custody (time-sharing issues), division of property and the like. However, attorney fees are also an expense that can sometimes be afforded by one party more than the other. The question then arises as to, “How can I hire a divorce lawyer if my spouse is the one working?” There are multiple answers to this question, which can be answered by your Jacksonville divorce lawyer, but a common answer is that the spouse making the majority of the money may be responsible for the other party’s attorney fees so that the discrepancy in income does not lead to unfair advantage in the courtroom.
However, disparity in incomes is not the only way that attorney fees and costs related to your divorce may be paid by the other party. Typically, when you first hire an attorney you are quoted a retainer based on the issues surrounding your case, the experience of the attorney, and the hourly rate charged by the attorney. However, if the other party forces excessive litigation against the other party, then there is the possibility of being awarded attorney fees for the unnecessary litigation actions of that party. For example, if you hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce with no children, no marital home, some assets (vehicles, furniture, etc.), and some debt (one or two credit cards), then the divorce should not be overly complicated because there is not a lot to fight over in the world of equitable distribution. However, if your spouse tries to argue over everything, a fork, a spoon, a knife and a light bulb and in the process creates additional and excessive legal fees. The courts have held that the party responsible for creating, “vexatious and frivolous litigation,” can be held responsible for the fees incurred as a result, Taylor v. Taylor, 734 So.2d 473 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999).