How to Get Attorney Fees Paid in a Divorce

Who Can Receive Attorney Fees?

Either party can be awarded attorney’s fees (in full or in part) in a divorce action or any action arising from the initial divorce, if the court finds the award to be ‘equitable.’

How Does the Court Determine What is Equitable?

The court considers the parties’ marital assets and income, any award of temporary spousal support, the conduct of the parties, and any other relevant factors the court deems appropriate in deciding what is ‘equitable.’

Will I be paid in Full or in Installments?

The court may specify whether the award of attorney’s fees and litigation expenses is payable in full or by installments.

How do I Request Attorney Fees?

You must file a pleading in your divorce requesting that your attorney fees be paid.

What are Some Examples?

In Johnson v. Mills, a Cuyahoga County divorce case, Johnson was awarded attorney’s fees because Mills was not cooperative in the discovery process. Mills failed to provide business records and other information relevant to the trial when asked resulting in hours of additional work for Johnson’s attorney. Therefore, the court believed it would be equitable for Johnson to be awarded attorney’s fees.

In Walpole v. Walpole, a Cuyahoga County divorce case, the Court found that neither party should be awarded attorney’s fees because both parties filed many motions which required the other party to respond, resulting in more work for both attorneys, and both parties had the means to pay their respective attorney’s fees. Therefore, because both parties contributed fairly equally to the disputes, both parties should incur the costs.

In Holska v. Holska, a Cuyahoga County divorce case, the Court found that the husband was entitled to attorney’s fees. In review the equitability of the award, the Court found that Wife earned significantly more income than Husband. In addition, all of the husband’s legal actions were necessary under the facts of the case, while wife’s actions were not all executed in good faith, in that she filed unnecessary claims for example. Therefore, the Court found it equitable to award Husband attorney’s fees.

For more information on having you attorney’s fees paid in a divorce case, contact a Cleveland Divorce Lawyer.