Will My Spouse Have to Pay for My Divorce?

One aspect of divorce that each party must analyze is the cost.   A Florida divorce can vary in the expense and one can expect that a more contentious divorce will in turn cost more.  Thus with extended litigation comes extended legal fees and costs.  In Florida however, one spouse may be held responsible for some or all of the attorney fees and costs incurred on behalf of their spouse.

Florida family law provides that a spouse may be entitled to a contribution toward their attorney fees in costs if they can establish the need and ability factors.  Need and ability is a test whereby the spouse seeking fees must establish two elements.  First, a party must establish that they have a need for their attorneys fees and costs to be paid by their spouse as they cannot afford their own litigation expenses.  Second, a party must establish that their spouse has the financial ability to pay their attorney fees and costs.  This statutory provision is an attempt by the legislature to ensure that each party has an equal opportunity to seek the representation of a Tampa family law attorney.

Each party should take caution not to oversimplify the need and ability analysis and therefore should seek the advice of a family law attorney.  Too often a party may overlook other elements regarding the need and ability factors and therefore have an unrealistic expectation that the court will provide them an attorneys fee award.  It is highly recommended that each party work with their divorce attorney in order to analyze all factors of the expense of divorce and to create goals in hopes of reaching an expedited resolution all while keeping in mind that although Florida divorce statues provide for a reimbursement of attorney fees and cost it is often a challenge to receive such an award from the court.