How to Recover Attorney Fees in a Family Law Case 

In a family law dispute, attorneys can seek reimbursement for their services. There are several ways to get such reimbursement. Divorce fee-shifting provisions, the “Necessities doctrine,” and “unreasonable conduct” doctrines are some of the most common. These theories vary in strength. If you’re wondering if you can recover fees for your family law attorney, you may want to read this article. 

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Divorce fee-shifting provision 

The divorce fee-shifting provision of Georgia’s family law code allows the prevailing party to recover his or her attorneys’ fees in the event of a contested divorce. It is designed to level the playing field between parties in a case and avoids the possibility of a spouse with more financial resources preventing the other from retaining an attorney. However, the fee-shifting provision of Georgia’s divorce code does have some caveats. 

First, the judge must be able to see that the financial disparity between the parties is sufficiently great to warrant an award of attorneys’ fees. If the judge finds the financial disparity too great, he may deny the request. Second, the judge must consider the financial disparity between the two parties and the reasonableness of their positions. In determining whether to award fees, a judge must consider how far the disparity between the parties extends and how far it is disproportionate. 

Necessaries doctrine 

In some jurisdictions, the Necessaries Doctrine applies to both spouses in a divorce or child custody case. The doctrine traces its roots to the common law notion that husbands and wives must provide for one another. The doctrine generally applies to both spouses but is almost always applied in the medical context. In North Carolina, for example, an ex-spouse can seek recovery for medical expenses incurred by the other spouse without consent. 

The Necessaries Doctrine applies to parents of minor children under 18 years of age. Under this doctrine, a parent is obligated to provide for their child’s health and well-being. In addition, parents may be required to pay for medical treatment and procedures for their minor children. In some cases, parents have been forced to pay for treatment even if the other spouse is responsible for the costs. 

Unreasonable conduct 

When deciding whether to award costs in a family law case, the judge must consider the parties’ conduct. While unreasonable conduct is uncommon, it can still lead to an order that the party liable for the costs pays the other party’s costs. The courts should not be abused, and they must not award costs for reasons other than unreasonable behavior. The costs ordered must be proportionate and should not adversely affect the welfare of the child. 

An unreasonable behavior petition must contain a specific allegation of the partner’s unreasonable behavior. This may happen once, or over time. Typical examples of unreasonable behavior are physical violence, sexual abuse, social isolation, substance abuse, and alcohol abuse. It can also involve refusal to contribute to shared living expenses. Unreasonable behavior can affect the child custody and visitation arrangements. An unreasonable behavior petition can cost thousands of dollars. A lawyer who knows their business and the law should be able to draft a compelling petition.