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The Divorce Encyclopedia
American Rule


Term Definition American Rule - a general rule holding that the winning side in litigation is not entitled to an award of attorney fees because of success in winning the case.
Application in Divorce Because the American rule has exceptions, in the United States domestic relations courts may award counsel fees and costs to a litigant based on good faith, bad faith, need and ability to pay. This means that a victory in divorce court does not automatically mean the opposing party has to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.

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