As part of any divorce, either spouse has the opportunity to seek a fee award from the court. I will tell you for … I’m not going to tell anybody anything. I just don’t want to be that way. All right.
As part of a divorce, either litigant has an opportunity to pursue an attorney fee award from the court. The opportunity to receive such an award is fairly limited to two different scenarios. The first scenario involves bad faith conduct. Bad faith is not disagreement as part of negotiation, or a party taking a stand for what they believe is right. Bad faith is an abuse of the process.
If one is intentionally harassing the other, or causing their expenses to increase through conduct that they’ve engaged in, that may justify a bad faith fee award from one spouse to the other. The other far more common attorney fee award in family court involves a need-based fee award.
It simply works like this. If one spouse has the ability to assist the other spouse with their legal fees and costs, and that other spouse does not have the ability to fund their own legal fees and costs, a need-based fee award may be deemed appropriate by the court. Fee awards can be pursued at any point throughout the course of the litigation, either at a motion for temporary relief, or at the trial.