Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

Attorneys' fees may be a sore spot for some parties in a Miami divorce and it seems they keep coming up in recent appellate decisions. Generally, the analysis for who pays attorneys' fees and costs in a Florida divorce revolves around need and ability to pay - that is the need of the spouse asking for fees to be paid and the ability of the other spouse to pay them. In the case Richards v. Weber, 221 So.3d 714 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017), a court's decision to make the husband responsible for 70% of the wife's attorneys' fees and costs is reviewed. 

The trial court found that throughout the parties' marriage, the husband earned 70% of the parties' combined gross income. Accordingly, the court ordered the husband to pay 70% of the wife's attorneys' fees. The order entered on this issue did not appear to consider any other factors in arriving at this determination. 

When the husband appealed, the appellate court reversed, citing established law that a trial court cannot award fees solely because there is a disparity in income between the parties. The Court is required to look to each spouse's need for fees and the ability to pay them. Ordering the husband to pay the wife's fees on this basis was considered an abuse of the trial court's discretion. 

Affording your own attorneys' fees and costs in divorce litigation, let alone the opposing party's may be a concern you have in filing your Miami divorce. That is why it is important to meet with a Miami divorce attorney to go over your budget and form the best plan for you to maximize your fees. Schedule a consultation to determine your best options.