In addition to paying your own attorney’s fees, suit monies, costs and/or expenses of an action, there may be circumstances in which you may be required to pay attorney’s fees, suit monies, costs and/or expenses to the other party. Generally, an award of attorney’s fees in favor of the other party is based upon the need for such an award by the requesting party and the other party’s ability to pay the award.
In a dissolution case, it is often stated both parties are entitled to obtain competent, legal representation. An award of attorney’s fees may be justified to enable each party to the action to secure competent, legal counsel and to be able to pursue his or her rights on nearly equal footing with competent representation. Should a hearing be required, the court will attempt to provide a needy party with funds to secure legal representation and will look to the person with the superior financial resources for those funds.
Sometimes one spouse’s income will be far superior to that of the other’s, and in such instance, an award of attorney’s fees, suit monies, costs and/or expenses might be proper to avoid the needy spouse’s liquidation of assets to pay for an attorney. In other words, the income of a party alone may be sufficient to support an award of attorney’s fees, even though the needy spouse may have assets at his or her disposal he or she could sell to pay fees. Circumstances may also exist where a party acts improperly during the course of litigation and the conduct of that party may be taken into consideration by the court when determining whether an award of attorney’s fees, suit monies, costs and/or expenses is appropriate.
In short, the key to navigating your entitlement to and pursuing the proper amount of an award of attorney’s fees, suit monies, costs or expenses in your favor, is having a competent, capable attorney representing your interests. Our Family Law attorneys are fully prepared to protect your rights regarding the costs and expenses of a domestic relations case including the pursuit of or defense against an award of attorney’s fees and costs.