Family Matters Law Group P.A.
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Attorney's Fees in Family Law Cases

Attorney's Fees may be awarded in family law matters, making one party responsible to pay the other party's fees. There is no "winner" or "loser" in family law matter. So, the traditional idea of the "loser" being responsible for fees does not apply to family law matters. Who filed the case is also not a factor (typically) in the determination of fees in family law cases. Attorney's fees in family law cases are ALWAYS discretionary.  Courts can but do not have to award such fees. Generally the Court's analysis of whether or not to grant fees is based on the relative financial circumstances of the parties & whether or not one party has a need and the other the ability to pay. The purpose of a fees awards is to ensure that both parties have similar abilities to pay for a lawyer & that one party is not left without adequate representation in a family proceeding.

While generally, the Court will award attorney's fees to a party who has a lesser financial ability to pay, there is no guarantee of such award. Further, while Court typically will not award attorney's fees when the Parties are on nearly equal financial footing, there is no guarantee of this either. Florida law is clear that the Court may consider any factor necessary to achieve a fair result. Specifically, Courts have held that they may consider: the scope & history of the litigation, the duration of litigation, the merits of the positions, whether the litigation is brought or maintained primarily to harass, and the existence and course of prior or pending litigation." Rosen and Rosen, 696 So. 2d 697 (Fla. 1997).

The purpose of considering these factors is not to punish the person who creates the problem, but instead to relieve the other party who did not create such litigation from having to bear attorney's fees themselves to defend such unnecessary or frivolous claims. Litigation misconduct is also a factor and Courts regularly award attorney's fees to the other side when a party lies, commits fraud or fails to provide complete financial disclosure. Simply refusing to accept a reasonable offer is not necessarily enough to amount to creating litigation. However, if the facts do not support your position then you could be setting yourself to either have your own request for fees denied or to have the other side success on getting fees from you.

If you have questions about your entitlement to attorney's fees or chance of success in obtaining such a reward you should contact an attorney who regularly practices family law for a consultation. Our offices generally provide such consultation free of charge. Visit www.solarislegal.com for more information.

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Family Matters Law Group P.A.
6950 Cypress Rd.
Suite #107
Plantation, FL 33317

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