I Want To Get Divorced In Florida And Have No Money. Can My Spouse Be Ordered To Pay My Attorney's Fees?
Divorces can be very expensive, particularly when the parties do not agree.
In some cases, one of the parties may choose to represent themselves because of a lack of money. In other situations, one spouse may stay in a terrible marriage out of fear of being unable to afford a divorce attorney. Neither of these situations is a good one.
Fortunately, Florida law allows courts to order one party to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and other expenses. The purpose of the statute is to ensure that both parties have access to legal counsel, which can present one side from obtaining an advantage over the other.
In order for a court to consider awarding attorney’s fees, that party must request them at the beginning of the proceeding. If attorney’s fees aren’t requested at the beginning, that party cannot later ask the court to award attorney’s fees.
The court will look at a variety of factors when deciding whether or not to award attorney’s fees. The court will consider the financial resources of each party, the history and duration of the proceedings, the need for an award of attorney’s fees, and the merits of each party’s position.
If a court does award attorney’s fees, it then must determine which fees are reasonable. The court will not award attorney’s fees which are unreasonable or excessive.
The court will normally hold a hearing on the matter, and make a finding as to what reasonable fees should be.
One spouse should not be stuck in a terrible marriage because he or she cannot afford to get a divorce.