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Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller, P.A
 

I need to get a divorce, but I can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Can I make my ex pay my attorney’s fees?

If you are facing a family law issue such as a divorce or a modification of the final judgment and are hesitant to hire a lawyer because you might not be able to afford attorney’s fees, you should be aware of the possibility of “fee shifting” in family law. According to Florida Statute 61.16, if one party in a family law case has the need to receive payment for their attorney’s fees, and the other party has the ability to pay, the court may shift the burden of attorney’s fees onto the spouse with greater financial resources.

In order to have the opposing party pay your attorney’s fees, your attorney must request for the court to do so in the pleadings and then prove at an evidentiary hearing that fee shifting is appropriate based on one spouse's need for the other to pay the fees and the other party's ability to pay the fees. The Court will consider each party's income and other available resources in making this determination. The Court will then either approve or deny the request. If the Court approves the request to have the opposing party pay the other’s attorney’s fees, those fees are often paid directly to the attorney.

Fee shifting is a fairly common occurrence in family law cases where there is a significant disparity in financial resources between the two parties. Do not hesitate to consult an experience family law attorney to discuss your legal issue, even if you are worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer. A good lawyer can help you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case, and (if possible) successfully transfer your attorney’s fees to your spouse, former spouse or the opposing party!

In addition to divorce matters, our firm also takes on cases involving child support, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

July 30, 2012
 
 
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