Recovering Attorney’s Fees in Family Court

Filing a case in family court and fighting a domestic relations battle of any kind can get expensive. Especially in a high conflict situation, the time and money spent can add up quickly. The attorneys at Ayers Family Law, LLC are concerned with keeping the cost of your legal fees low and if possible will petition the court to recover the attorney’s fees from the other party.

Awarding Attorney’s Fees

The South Carolina Family Court recognizes that financial inequality between the parties can result in one party having superior legal representation.

In order to assure that the parties are represented on equal grounds, the court implemented Section 20-3-130 paragraph H of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The code states that “the court, from time to time after considering the financial resources and marital fault of both parties, may order one party to pay a reasonable amount to the other for attorney fees, expert fees, investigation fees, costs, and suit money incurred in maintaining an action for divorce from the bonds of matrimony, as well as in actions for separate maintenance and support, including sums for services rendered and costs incurred before the commencement of the proceeding and after entry of judgment, pendente lite and permanently.”

The court will gather evidence from each party to determine whether one party should pay all or part of the other party’s legal costs.

Factors Court Considers in Awarding Fees

Each family case has a unique set of facts and circumstances. When determining whether to award attorney’s fees to one party, the court looks at a number of factors.

The Supreme Court of South Carolina, in EDM v. TAM, found that when determining whether to award fees, the court should consider each party’s ability to pay their own attorney’s fees; the results the attorney achieved and what benefit it brought to the party; each party’s respective financial situation; and the effect that the attorney’s fees will have on the standard of living of each party.

Factors Court Considers in Awarding Amount of Attorney Fees

The court will not award any arbitrary amount for attorney’s fees. Once the court determines a party will be awarded attorney’s fees they then determine what is a reasonable amount. The Supreme Court of South Carolina, in Glasscock. v. Glasscock, decided that in determining a reasonable fee the court should consider the nature, extent, and difficulty of the case; how much time the attorney spent on the case; the professional standing of the attorney; the contingency of compensation; the results the attorney obtained and the benefit to the party; and the customary cost for equivalent attorney’s fees.

Contact Us Today

Do not let the fear of attorney’s fees deter you from pursuing legal action in a domestic relations case. The attorneys at Ayers Family Law, LLC will do everything necessary to keep the costs down and, if the situation requires, attempt to recover attorney’s fees from the other party. Let our attorneys assist with your family law needs in the Charleston area.