Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Divorce

How much in attorney’s fees and costs can be spent on litigation in a Miami divorce? In one case, a couple collectively spent over $500,000 in attorney’s fees on post-judgment litigation alone. This means after their final judgment of divorce was signed, they both participated in so much litigation that they racked up half a million dollars in fees. Determining who would foot the bill brought on an appeal which cost more fees, no doubt. 

In Rorrer v. Rorrer, 215 So.3d 148 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017), the trial court made a specific finding that the former husband’s behavior caused unnecessary litigation. Instead of ordering the former husband to pay for the litigation he caused, the trial court came up with its own formula to decide how much each party would pay toward fees - the court added up the total amount incurred by both parties, and then determined the parties’ respective income ratios and apportioned responsibility for the fees based on those income ratios.  

The appellate court reversed this order, holding that the equation used by the trial court inequitably punished the former wife for the former husband’s behavior. As the appellate court put it, the former wife was being forced to “pick up part of the tab” for improper conduct of the former husband.

The appellate court also considered the issue of whether the trial court was permitted to award attorney’s fees and costs when previous orders entered during the litigation did not reserve jurisdiction to consider a fee award. The appellate court concluded it was not necessary for each individual order to reserve ruling on fees - in determining a fee award, the court is permitted by statute to consider the full history of litigation leading up to the fee award.  

If you cannot afford an attorney in your Miami divorce case, it is important to consider that the law provides a remedy for you - you may be eligible to have your fees paid by the opposing party. A consultation with a Miami family law attorney can help you decide the chances of fees being awarded to you.