Typically the last decision a judge makes at the conclusion of a contested divorce proceeding or other family law matter is whether to order one spouse to pay or contribute to the other spouse’s attorney’s fees and court costs. This decision is primarily based on the parties’ relative abilities to pay for legal representation.
Attorney’s fees in contested family law proceedings are almost universally charged on an hourly basis. Flat fees are usually reserved for uncontested cases where there are few or no disputed issues. Contingency fees are prohibited by the Florida Bar in all but very limited types of family law situations. The responsibility for attorney’s fees in contested family law cases is an important issue, especially where one spouse’s access to funds is limited.
An attorney’s fee and court cost award can be awarded at the end of a case or, if needed, in the middle of a case. When attorney’s fees are awarded in the middle of litigation, it is called an award of temporary attorney’s fees and costs. These awards are made to ensure that both parties have access to similar quality legal representation and that neither party is frozen out of the process due to the lack of an ability to pay.
Contact our experienced attorneys if you have any questions about the attorney fees recovery process at 813-443-5249.