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Can I Make My Spouse Pay for My Florida Divorce Lawyer?

Expert Florida divorce lawyers can ask, and quite frequently judges order, the other spouse to pay for your attorney's fees.

Many years ago, there was no way to get your spouse to pay for your Florida divorce lawyer. This was at a time when the difference between the income of the average man and the average woman was much greater than it is today. The result was that the husbands would hire experienced divorce lawyers and the wives could only afford inexperienced lawyers right out of law school. It was not a fair fight.

The legislature changed all of that and now Florida divorce courts look to the respective financial abilities of the divorcing spouses to determine if it would be fair for one spouse to pay any of the other spouse's attorney's fees and costs.

At the end of the case, the judge will look at how much in assets and debts each spouse is taking from the marriage, how much each has in non-marital assets and debts and how much income each has. If one spouse is notably better off than the other by this comparison, the court will order the wealthier spouse to pay some or all of the attorney's fees and costs of the more needy spouse.

Even before the end of the case, Florida divorce law provides for a judge to award temporary attorney's fees and costs based upon work done to that point in the case or for the predicted amount of future work to be done in the case.

The result of these changes in the law is that the spouse with the lower income has better access to an expert Florida divorce attorney than ever before.

Bottom Line: Even though you earn less money than your spouse, you should be able to hire a Florida divorce lawyer who is just as skilled as your spouse's attorney.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)

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