Yes. It is possible.
A court judge may award fees in any divorce, also known as “dissolution of marriage,” enforcement, modification, separate maintenance, visitation, paternity, or support action. The purpose is to ensure that both parties to a family law proceeding have similarly ability to secure competent legal counsel.
It is unnecessary for one spouse to be completely unable to pay their attorney's fees in order to receive an award of attorney's fees from the other spouse.
An award of attorney's fees minimizes the harm to the spouse with less financial means from the other spouse's financial advantage to secure legal assistance.
NEED AND ABILITY
The need of one spouse for attorney's fees and the other spouse's ability to pay the attorney's fees of the other spouse are the primary considerations in determining entitlement to and the amount of attorney's fees and costs. The relative financial circumstances of the parties will be considered.
The court judge will also consider all income and assets. This includes marital and non-marital assets, such as retirement funds.
FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION
A court judge will consider factors in awarding fees. Some of those factors include the following:
- Scope and history of the litigation
- Duration of the litigation
- Merits of the respective positions
- Whether the litigation is brought or maintained primarily to harass
- The existence of prior and or pending litigation
A court judge is required to make a determination that the fees requested are reasonable. This is based upon a lawyer's expertise and skill, the complexity of the case, and the prevailing hourly rate in the local community.
The standard is the same for temporary fees as it is for final fees. The primary consideration remains need and ability to pay.
In Orange County, parties must attend at least one mediation before either of them can have a hearing on a motion for temporary attorney's fees.
ENFORCING ATTORNEY'S FEES
An award of attorney's fees is enforceable by contempt.
EFFECT OF BANKRUPTCY
Generally, fees awarded that are considered support are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
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Starting a divorce can be difficult. Divorce is the second, most stressful event someone will ever experience. It is important to have a guide who can help you identify your rights and responsibilities that you might overlook trying to do it yourself. Having an attorney who focuses their practice 100% on family law and divorce is essential because you need a professional who understands everything about divorce. The anger, the fear, the betrayal, and the anxiety about your financial future.
Divorce and divorce-related situations is all we do here at Leap Frog Divorce. We're ready to help you today, and we have affordable options.