Attorney Fees And Costs
Michigan law allows parties involved in a divorce to liquidate marital assets in order to pay the legal fees. Ultimately, however, the court may allocate the dissipated asset into the property distribution of the spouse who liquidated. If you are the party to a divorce, and are wondering whether you are entitled to an award of fees and costs, our divorce attorneys can help.
There is a second way that litigants can fund the legal fees associated with divorce: from their spouse. Under Michigan law, fee awards may be either: (1) need-based; or (2) fault-based.
In order to successfully request a need-based fee award, a litigant must show:
- The fees are necessary for the good faith assertion of their rights;
- The party from whom the legal fees are being sought has the means to pay fees; and
- The party seeking legal fees does not have the means to pay their fees.
Fault-based legal fees are awarded when a court finds that one of the parties has unnecessarily contributed to a delay in the proceedings, and therefore, an increase in legal fees. For instance, legal fees may be awarded when:
- One of the parties has failed to provide necessary discovery responses;
- One of the parties has engaged in frequent filing of repeated or frivolous motions;
- One of the parties has frequently failed to appear in court;
- One of the parties has frequently failed to file relevant court documents;
- One of the parties has damaged property, or incurred unnecessary debt in the other party’s name; or
- There has been incidents of harassment or abuse on the part of the party being asked to pay.
A motion to the Court is necessary to recover fees and costs for bad faith conduct.