Often attorneys are asked, “Is the Court able to make them pay my attorney’s fees?” Clients are often concerned whether or not the opposing side will be made to pay attorney’s fees or whether they will be made to do so for the other side.
Pursuant to Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, there are a few different answers depending on the situation you find yourself in. However, attorney’s fees are never an automatic award.
In family law proceedings, fees are awarded based on the requesting party establishing a need for said fees to be paid as well as the ability of the other party to pay said fees. This can be accomplished through an evidentiary hearing wherein the Court evaluates the party’s need and the opposing party’s ability to meet said need.
In contempt proceedings, the Court can evaluate whether it is reasonable to award the prevailing party attorney’s fees as an appropriate sanction. For example, if the Court finds a party in contempt as a result of a filed motion, and finds that the actions of said party necessitated the filing party’s legal recourse, the Court can award attorney’s fees to the offended party. However, if a party has attempted to bring a motion for contempt, and the defending party is successful, the Court may award the defending party attorney’s fees for having to defend an unfounded action.
Often, attorney’s fees are a contested issue, which could result in additional litigation, among other complex matters. It is important to have a seasoned and experienced attorney evaluate your case. The Rice Law Firm has handled many actions involving attorney’s fees since 1986. Contact us today at our Daytona Beach location at 386-310-2914.