Can my Ex-Spouse Reimburse me for Attorney fees?

EPGD Law Family Law

Upon pursuing a divorce, it is common to wonder if your ex-spouse can reimburse you for your attorney fees and other significant costs incurred throughout the process. Luckily, an answer can be found in statutes and case law.

Is it possible to get an award for attorney’s fees from my ex?

While it is possible for your ex to pay your attorney fees, it is unlikely. All courts follow the “American Rule” regarding legal fees, which requires that each party pay for their own representation. It is in limited circumstances that judges will order one party to pay the other’s attorney fees.

According to Section 61.16 of the Florida Statutes, a court may at times order a party to pay a “reasonable amount” for attorney fees. The court decides this after considering the financial resources of both parties, such as if one party is in a greatly superior financial position than the other. However, the noncompliant party in the proceeding cannot ask for attorney fees, suit money, or costs.

The petitioning spouse must prove their need for the award of attorney fees. This is done by presenting evidence to the court that because of a financial need, they are unable to pay the attorney fees. This evidence includes:

  • Current Income
  • Your net worth
  • Past earnings
  • Value of Assets

Judges also order a party to pay the other side’s fees when they filed a harassing or frivolous motion. It is understood that innocent party should not have to shoulder the expenses of such a case.

Can you sue for legal fees in family court?

After determining if the attorney fees incurred are necessary and reasonable, Florida courts use the “lodestar approach” to calculate the fees the spouse should pay: The reasonable hourly rate multiplied by a reasonable number of hours an experienced attorney would spend on the case.

Termed the “lodestar” method in a case called Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund v. Rowe, the approach has been widely adopted by Florida courts. The final amount of fees is determined after the judge has taken into account all circumstances relevant to the case.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Eric P. Gros-Dubois founded EPGD Business Law in 2013 and is the current head of the firm’s corporate, estate planning, and tax practice, and manages the firm’s Washington D.C. office. With a JD and MBA, and a specialization in finance, Eric is able to step back and view the legal world through a commercial lens while also acting as a trusted business advisor for his clients. He does his best to be solutions oriented, and tries to think like a business owner, not just a lawyer.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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