You probably already know the general meaning of the phrase “attorney’s fees” – it’s what you, or someone else, pays in exchange for the services of an attorney. But since legal fees are of great concern to most people who are entering the legal process, a little more detail is in order.
The most common arrangement for attorney’s fees in family law cases are by the hour. At The Orlando Family Firm, we charge a retainer fee at the beginning of the case and this fee varies depending on the type of case. The retainer fee is then billed down based on the hours we spend on your case and the costs we have to pay.
Unfortunately, contingency fees in family law cases are prohibited by the Florida Bar, with the limited exception of collecting on an already established judgment. If you find yourself in the collections procedure, call us to discuss your options.
Sometimes, you can have the opposing party pay for your attorney's fees and costs. Florida Statute 61.16 authorizes the Court in a family law proceeding to potentially award attorney’s fees and costs to one party at the expense of the other party.
The relevant text of the statute is:
“The court may from time to time, after considering the financial resources of both parties, order a party to pay a reasonable amount for attorney's fees, suit money, and the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding under this chapter, including enforcement and modification proceedings and appeals.”
As you can see from the statute, the main consideration in awarding attorney’s fees and costs is the financial resources of the parties. The most common situation in which attorney’s fees are awarded is when one spouse or party has a significantly higher income than the other spouse. Attorney’s fees and costs are obtained by Court Order or by agreement between the parties.