Attorneys' Fees and Costs
Often individuals needing legal assistance hesitate to hire an attorney because of the fear of overwhelming costs. Attorneys’ fees have been known to accumulate quickly, suddenly leaving clients with bills that they can’t afford and charges that they don’t understand. I am William Wallshein, a West Palm Beach family law attorney, and I will make sure that you know what costs are associated with your representation with open and honest information about legal fees. I have over 25 years of experience helping clients in Broward, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties with many types of family law cases, providing skilled representation at a fair price.Family and Marital Law Fees in Florida
Florida law requires attorneys filing cases in family courts to provide clients with a fixed hourly rate. Contingency fee arrangements are prohibited for family and marital law cases in Florida, meaning that lawyers may not base their fees on the outcome in court. Retainer agreements provided to each client at the beginning of representation carefully stipulate what fees and costs will be charged for the time spent working on a case. Since each case may require different kinds of attention based on the contested issues or the complexity of the matters at hand, a total fee cannot be accurately predicted ahead of time. Before any case goes forward, our office will make sure you understand how the fee agreement operates and answer any questions you may have about the legal costs associated with your case.Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Awards in Court
Florida Statute 61.16 allows courts to award attorneys’ fees to one party in certain family law cases, including divorce, child custody, and support, as well as enforcement and modification proceedings and appeals. The court uses an array of factors in determining who should be financially responsible for legal fees in family and marital matters. These factors include:
- Whether or not the parties are in equal financial standing
- Each of the parties’ needs as well as their abilities to pay
- The reasonableness of fees
The court may give one party partial or even full financial responsibility for attorneys’ fees. The statute allowing for “fee shifting” between parties ensures that both sides in a family law case have access to quality lawyers and are able to receive competent, equal representation. The court can decide to issue an award for attorneys’ fees either when the case has been concluded, or temporarily during proceedings to give each party full access to proper representation regardless of their financial status. The goal of fee shifting is to make sure the playing field is level between the two parties, so that the person who may have control over family finances is not the only person with adequate representation.
An award for costs is granted separately from attorneys’ fees. It comprises any expenses the parties sustain as a result of litigation, such as court filing fees, deposition costs, expert witness and court reporter expenses, and other administrative costs. Under Florida law, costs are awarded to the prevailing party in a lawsuit.Consult a Family Law Attorney Serving Palm Beach Gardens
The fear of high costs should not prevent you from receiving the representation you need and deserve during critical, emotionally fraught periods in your life. I am Palm Beach Gardens family law lawyer William Wallshein, and I am dedicated to providing my clients with the finest legal counsel at reasonable costs. I will remain open and honest in keeping you informed about fees and costs of litigation while working with you to pursue attorneys’ fee awards if you have a restricted budget. I handle an array of family law matters throughout South Florida, including marital dissolution and custody cases. Please call 561-533-1221 or contact me online to schedule our first conversation at no cost to you.