Under Florida law, courts may award reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation expenses in a dissolution of marriage and other post-dissolution proceedings, such as modifications and enforcement, and appeals. (Fla. Stat. § 61.16).
Courts primarily consider the financial resources of both parties. It may enter an award of attorneys’ fees and costs where one spouse has a greater need, and the other spouse has a greater ability to pay. Courts will also take into account other factors, including:
Even if the Court finds an award of attorneys’ fees appropriate, the fees must be reasonable.
The ability to pay should not dissuade someone from filing for divorce or seeking legal representation. The purpose of this statute is to ensure that both parties have a similar ability to secure competent legal counsel.
If you are considering divorce, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney about requesting attorneys’ fees early on in the proceedings or at any other appropriate time. It is also critically important to discuss the possibility of having to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees as well as your own.