Will my spouse have to pay for my attorney's fees?

Florida Statutes 61.16 authorizes that from time to time, one party may have to pay for the attorney's fees of the other party. This statute requires the court to consider the financial resources of both parties. The attorney's fees statute is meant to allow parties in a family law case to have equal access to competent attorneys.

In Belmont v. Belmont 761 So.2d 406, the court listed three instances where attorneys fees could NOT be awarded. First, a party cannot recover attorneys fees from the opposing party for a separately filed domestic violence injunction case. Similarly, the statue detailing domestic violence injunctions does not allow for the recovery of attorney's fees in those cases.

Second, a party cannot recover attorney's fees for the extended travel of his or her attorney. In the Belmont case, Mrs. Belmont hired an attorney in Polk County to represent her in her Sarasota County divorce.

Third, a party cannot recover attorney's fees for the physical removal of items from the marital home. The Belmont case does not expound on exactly what the Wife's attorney removed, or how many hours were expended in doing so, but this holding agrees with the basic tenet that an attorney has to actually be performing legal work for the fees to be reimbursed pursuant to FS 61.16.

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