AWARD OF ATTORNEY’S FEES: WHEN APPLICABLE? WASHINGTON DC DIVORCE LAWYER

The DC Divorce Statute provides a provision for Pendente Lite (while pending) award of:

  • Alimony
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Health Insurance coverage
  • Cash Medical support
  • And Attorney’s fee and suit money

That is, while the matter is filed and pending, either party may request financial assistance while the litigation is pending and the issues are being decided through the court system. This is important as a typical contested divorce involving property division and child custody can stretch out for months.

In awarding the pendente lite support, the court will consider and evaluate factors enumerated in §16-913 (d) award of alimony listed in our Washington DC Divorce Lawyer page.

Often time one of the parties if financially incapable would require attorney’s fee to prosecute a divorce action. In such cases, it is prudent to seek pendente lite support under the Statute and to get an order for payment of legal fees in order to level the playing field financially.

The degree and caliber of litigation is at times measured by resources spent, and one should not be in legal detriment for lack of financial means.

There is also precedent in seeking attorney’s fees after the final decree and order has been granted. Such award would be in the discretion of the presiding Judge and the court may consider:

  • Whether the litigation has been oppressive or burdensome to the party seeking the award
  • The judge may also examine the motivation and behavior of the litigating parties
  • The quality and nature of the services performed,
  • The necessity for the services,
  • The results obtained from the services, and
  • The financial ability of the spouse being ordered to pay.

It is not uncommon for parties after the resolution of divorce to seek legal fees. The court will balance the factors enumerated and award legal fees accordingly.

Alternatively, parties may address the payment of legal fees in a comprehensive marital settlement agreement along with other issues.

Refer to our DC Divorce Lawyer page for more information on this subject.

Categories: Family Law.