How Florida Statutes Can Help You Get an Affordable Divorce

Florida Statutes - Boca Raton, FL

The First Step to Divorce is Figuring Out what County Boca Raton is In

Florida Statutes are difficult for anyone not familiar with legal jargon to interpret. That said, it’s no surprise that after finding out that you need to file in Palm Beach County, things become overwhelming. Soon, the panic sets in because you know you need an attorney but aren’t sure how to finance it because your ex has control over the dough. Thankfully, this post delves into the world of attorneys fees and how you can get them. Think of it as a public service announcement.

The History of Attorney Fee Awards in Palm Beach County

Historically, the law has recognized a financially dependent spouse’s right to an award of attorney fees for divorce. This right was based on a husband’s common-law obligation to support his wife. The court’s inherent power allowed them to award fees to a divorce spouse without specific statutory authorization under state law.

Florida Statutes - Boca Raton, FLWhat County You Live in Doesn’t Really Matter in Divorce Law Beyond Filing

You’re speeding back from Barnes and Noble with the latest edition of the Florida Statutes in your backseat so you can brush up on divorce law. You figure this is the logical first step to divorce. I Will Survive is blasting on the radio. You were young and full of hope on your wedding day. As the first few years passed, you just assumed everyone was disappointed with their marriage.

Now, just the sight of your spouse makes your stomach turn. You could handle the weight gain and endless nagging. You even ignored the towels on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. Then you found Facebook messages from an old high school flame that happens to be coming to Boca Raton “on business”.  Don’t people realize that these basically fall under the title public records these days?! You have finally reached your limit. You want out. No, you need out.

As you belt Gloria Gaynor at the top of your lungs, you feel confident in your decision. You start to dance. You shrug off the looks from other drivers at a red light. This is your time. No one can take that away from you! You do a quick search on your phone for Boca Raton is in what county so you know where to file. Your phone rings and you tell your  best friend the good news. That’s wonderful, the voice on the other line shouts as your news is processing. Do you have the money for that? Divorce isn’t cheap! The song ends and your stomach sinks.

Why the First Step to Divorce is Hiring the Best West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney

You have carefully read every divorce article you could find online. Not to mention legislation, codes, statute laws and the latest Senate bill to go through the Florida legislature. You’ve searched every free site recommended by every paralegal and administrative assistant you know. You spend hours recording horror stories from fellow courageous freedom fighters in any county west of the Gulf who was willing to share.  This has led to the realization that you need the help of a West Palm Beach divorce attorney. Being able to understand divorce law might be more complicated than you thought.

The only problem is, your spouse has control over all family financial information and documents. Panic sets in as today doesn’t seem as great as you had thought. You remember the conversation you had with your sweetheart about the possibility of keeping the divorce process as amicable as possible. The response made you shudder. Go ahead and try, I will destroy you. You’ll be the laughing stock of Boca Raton. Suddenly, the feeling of hopelessness is back. You find yourself tearing up the kitchen to find a  paper bag to keep from hyperventilating. Your neighbor rushes over to check on you. The clouds part when she tells you your ex could be responsible for your Boca Raton divorce family attorney’s fees.

Florida Statutes - Boca Raton, FLBefore Bugging Out, Brush Up on Divorce Law under Florida Statutes

The purpose of awarding fees in a Florida divorce case is to ensure that both parties have equal access to representation. A Palm Beach County judgelooks to a party’s financial resources. This is the first step to determine entitlement to fees. The objective is to ensure that a financially dependent spouse has the ability to maintain or defend the divorce. Counsel fees are ordinarily the responsibility of the party who retains the Boca Raton attorney. This means it’s the burden of the party seeking the award to prove they won’t be able to retain a divorce attorney if the court doesn’t award fees. They also have the burden of showing the other party’s superior financial ability. A Palm Beach County court can turn to the actual amount of the award once entitlement has been established.

A Palm Beach County judge has broad discretion in awarding fees and costs under Florida Statutes. However, there must be an evaluation for the counties Palm Beach court to make a decision. The factors included are  an evaluation of assets, both marital and non-marital. This helps in figuring out any disparity in post-division assets or income after a Boca Raton divorce. The court’s decision must be based on the individual resources of the parties. Temporary assistance from family and friends don’t count. This means if Uncle Ernie or his children are willing to finance your initial retainer, you don’t have to worry about it coming back to haunt you.

What a Court Looks at When Deciding to Award Fees in Accordance with Florida Statutes

Florida laws state that the first step is looking at need and ability to pay. The statutes also state Florida judges have to determine where the money to pay the fees will come from. This includes whether there are liquid assets or income to pay fees and costs. The consideration of need and ability to pay includes several factors a Palm Beach County judge has to look at under state law.

  • Marital assets. This includes whatever each party receives in a divorce property settlement.
  • Non-marital assets.
  • Present and future income.
  • Liquidity.

Florida Statutes - Boca Raton, FLFlorida Statutes Concerning Attorneys Fees in Child Custody Matters

A West Palm Beach court may order a parent to pay reasonable court costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by the other parent to enforce time sharing. The Boca Raton judge can also award a reasonable fee to a guardian ad litem for working on an otherwise free parenting assessment. If there’s a risk that one party may violate the court’s parenting plan by taking a child out of the county or by concealing their whereabouts, the court may require a bond. The court also has the ability to reimburse a party for reasonable fees and costs. Under Florida Statutes, you can’t get fees for a domestic violence case.

Attorneys Fees for Enforcement

If the court finds that the violating party is without justification in the refusal to follow a court order, the violating party can’t get fees. Alternatively, when a court grants a motion for contempt, the court may impose appropriate sanctions. This is done to obtain compliance with the order and includes attorneys’ fees.

West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Explains Ability to Pay as Cited in Florida Statutes

The source of attorneys’ fees can be capital assets. This includes retirement accounts. However, a party won’t be required to invade capital assets where their spouse has the ability to pay fees out of earned income. If your ex has drawn out litigation, you have a remedy under Florida Statutes. In this case, fees may be awarded even without regard to ability to pay.

Florida Statutes - Boca Raton, FLThe Definition of Reasonable Fees And Costs under Florida Divorce Law

Fees for experts are considered costs and are within the sound discretion of the court. Costs related to the taking of depositions of parties and witnesses are allowed. Florida law provides guidelines for determining reasonable costs in an affordable divorce. This includes many factors.

  1. The nature and extent of the disclosure made to the client on site about costs.
  2. Whether a specific agreement exists between the lawyer and the client as to the costs a client is expected to pay. This includes how a cost is calculated that is charged to a client. This also includes administrative costs and those incurred by a paralegal.
  3. The actual amount charged by third party providers of services to the West Palm Beach divorce attorney.
  4. Whether specific costs can be identified and allocated to an individual client or a reasonable basis exists to estimate the costs charged.
  5. The reasonable charges for providing in-house service to a client if the cost is an in-house charge for services.

The Florida legislature has mandated that costs shall be presumed reasonable in certain cases. Most importantly, when the parties have a written agreement in which the method is established for charging costs.

Click West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney to schedule your consultation. Proudly Serving Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, and all of Palm Beach County, South Florida.

Boca Raton Divorce Lawyers Practice Areas Include:

  • Florida Prenuptial Agreement

  • Post Marital Agreement

  • Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

  • Contested Divorce

  • Uncontested Divorce

  • High Net Worth Divorce

  • Affordable Divorce

  • Florida Alimony Laws

  • Equitable Distribution

  • Division of Retirement Benefits In Florida Divorce

  • Legal Separation Agreement

  • Division of Property

  • Imputing Income

  • Dissipation of Marital Assets

  • Modification of Alimony Payments

  • Florida Modification of Child Support

  • Modification Of Child Custody In Florida

  • Florida Child Support Enforcement

Posted in DIVORCE
Tags: , ,