Can I ask the other party to pay my attorney’s fees?

Can I ask the other party to pay my attorney’s fees?

Yes.  The family court uses a two step process when considering requests for attorney’s fees and other related costs.  First, they determine if either side is entitled to an award. Then, they establish an appropriate amount.  The requesting party has the burden of proof to establish both the entitlement and the amount.

The case of E.D.M. V. T.A.M., 307 S.C. 471,415 S.E. 2d 812 (1992) sets out the four factors the Court must consider when determining whether a requesting party has sufficient entitlement to reimbursement of fees and related expenses.

​The case of Glasscock V. Glasscock 304 S.C. 158, 403 S.E. 2d 313, 315 (1991) sets out the factors the court is to consider when determining the total amount of fees and related costs the entitled party is eligible to receive.

Simply put, winning your case is essential to receiving money for your attorney’s fees and costs. If you win, the court will compare the incomes of both parties.  A person with significantly more income (relatively speaking) is unlikely to get fees, even if they win.  On the other hand, a person who makes significantly less is far more likely to be awarded fees.

In my practice, I’ve noted two recent trends in fee award determinations: First, proving adultery builds a strong case for receiving attorney’s fees and costs related to proving the adultery, such as the fee for a private investigator.  In other words, if you are successful at proving adultery, you have a strong argument for getting attorney fees and costs from the other party. Second, taking an unreasonable position in Court often leads to an award of attorney’s fees for the opposing party.  

Please remember that each divorce case is unique and the information discussed above can often affected by a number of factors.  Therefore, do not take this blog as legal advice and be sure to consult with an attorney.

If you have any questions about divorce, child custody, or family law in general, we urge you to contact us.  In order to be flexible and convenient, we have open office hours, and easy appointment scheduling. Contact us today and schedule your confidential consultation.

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