Attorney’s Fees in a Divorce

A divorce comes with many financial considerations. A large part of your proceedings will revolve around your financial interests. You will identify and split assets and liabilities and also determine who pays for the attorney’s fees in a divorce.

If you’re getting ready to go through this process, you are probably wondering how much a divorce will cost and who is going to pay for it. Will it be you, your spouse, or both of you?

Let’s look at some considerations that can help you determine what to expect.

Divorce Cost Factors

Before determining who pays attorney’s fee in a divorce, start by considering how much the divorce will cost. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact dollar amount for how much a divorce costs. A few things will contribute to the overall cost.

Court Fees

Each county court has a filing fee that must be paid to file for divorce. The fees differ by county and state. In Florida, most counties charge $408.00 to file a dissolution of marriage and annulment.

You may also need to pay additional court fees depending on the details of your case. For example, if your case goes to trial, you will need to pay associated court costs. You are responsible for paying all court fees in addition to attorney’s fees.

Your Current Financial Situation

If you and your spouse don’t have the financial resources needed to pay court fees, you can submit an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. If both parties can prove that they are unable to pay, neither party would be responsible for the fees.

The Complexity of Your Divorce

If you have a very simple divorce (for example, no minor children are involved and the divorce is uncontested), you may be able to file for a Simplified Divorce if you meet specific criteria. A Simplified Divorce is less involved than a traditional divorce, so the associated attorney’s fees will be lower than if you go through standard divorce proceedings.

The more complex your divorce, the more expensive it will be. More resources will be needed if children are involved, you have many assets to divide up, or you and your partner are reluctant to agree on the details of the divorce. A more complicated divorce will require more time from a divorce attorney and incur more expenses related to additional court and mediation costs.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

Attorney’s Fees

If you choose to work with a family law attorney, you will incur attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees vary widely based on where you live, the attorney’s experience level, and the complexity of your case.

Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost?

Consider how each of these factors impacts your situation to get an idea of the potential cost of your divorce. A reasonable average is about $5,000.00 to $15,000.00 per spouse.

Who Pays The Attorney’s Fees in a Divorce?

In most divorce cases, both sides have their own lawyer to represent their interests. For example, one spouse may get an attorney and file for a divorce. The other spouse will retain their own attorney once the divorce papers are served on them.

Each party is responsible for the fees due to their hired attorney.

Also, the party who filed for divorce will pay the court filing fees. This initial arrangement does not mean that each side will ultimately pay all of their own attorney costs.

During negotiations of the divorce, one side may fight to get their attorney’s fees paid by the other party. 

  • One party can make a claim that they are unable to pay their attorney’s fees and that the other spouse is in a position to pay the fees. To get your attorney’s fee paid by your spouse, you must prove that you are a dependent spouse who doesn’t have the same resources that the other side has.
  • Another way to get your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees in a divorce is by showing bad faith or fault of the other party. If you can prove that the other side made false allegations, engaged in frivolous litigation, or otherwise caused delays in litigation, you may be awarded attorney’s fee as part of the settlement.

If your settlement awards you attorney’s fees, you will be reimbursed for any costs already paid to the attorney. This is called a shifting fee provision. The party retaining the attorney pays the attorney and is later reimbursed for the expenses.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Florida

Make a Financial Plan for Your Divorce

It may be difficult to determine who pays the attorney’s fees in a divorce and how much it is actually going to cost. The best way to get a clear idea of what to expect in your unique situation is to talk to an experienced divorce attorney.

Most first meetings with a divorce attorney are free and allow you the opportunity to ask questions and get an idea about the financial responsibility you should expect.

If you are getting ready to go through a divorce and have questions about costs and expectations, contact TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today to get answers to your financial questions so you confidently take the next steps without worries of unexpected costs and responsibilities.

Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

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