Articles Posted in Attorney’s fees

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Both the husband and the wife should be entitled to have equal access to the court system when proceeding with a divorce.

Often times, one spouse controls substantially most of the financial wealth that has been accumulated during the marriage. This makes it difficult for the other spouse to retain and seek the advice of a lawyer.

There is a remedy available to a spouse who has little or no access to funds, but who still requires an attorney. The remedy is found under Florida statute 61.16, which provides for the award of attorney’s fees, suit money, and costs.

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In dissolution of marriage actions, attorney’s fees are frequently awarded when there is a large disparity in the parties incomes. Generally speaking, the underlying premise is to “put the litigants on an even playing field.” Both parties should have the ability to retain and be represented by competent counsel throughout the dissolution of marriage proceedings. This holds true whether the proceedings are in Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or anywhere else throughout the state of Florida.

The award of attorney’s fees is governed by Florida Statute 61.16, which is titled as Attorney’s fees, suit money and costs. An award of attorney’s fees requires both of the parties to appear in front of the judge and to present their evidence regarding income, expenses, and their respective needs for an attorney’s fee request.

A judge has the discretion to make an award of attorney’s fees on both a temporary basis as the case is progressing, as well as on a permanent basis as the case is concluding.

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fine violation desktop.jpgFlorida law provides that in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, both the husband and wife are entitled to be on an “even playing field.” What this means is that the spouse who controls the family finances and who earns the higher income, frequently is required to pay for the legal fees and expenses of the other spouse. This is frequently referred to as the “need versus the ability to pay” standard.

This is not however, the only standard utilized by the courts when awarding attorney’s fees and costs. Florida Statute 57.105 is becoming a tool frequently utilzed by the courts to impose sanctions by awarding attorney’s fees, when appropriate.

Section 57.105(1) provides that the award of attorney’s fees are appropriate when:

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There is a presumption that a prenuptial agreement was entered into freely and voluntarily. Usually each party to the agreement has had the opportunity to be advised by their own attorney, and each party has made a complete and total financial disclosure of their assets and liabilities tio the other party.

Prenuptial agreements usually contain a provision for prevailing party attorney’s fees. This means that if you decide to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement that contains a prevailing party attorney’s fee clause, you will be held responsible for those attorney’s fees if your challenge is not successful and the agreement is upheld.

The Supreme Court of Florida resolved this issue in June of 2005 when they decided the case of Lashkajani v. Lashkajani, 911 So.2d 1154 (2005).. The court’s ruling was clear and precise. The court held that prenuptial agreement provisions awarding attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party in litigation regarding the validity and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement are enforceable.