What happens if my spouse fails to pay my divorce attorney’s fees?

The trial court’s final judgment should make the awarded attorney’s fees payable directly to the attorney. Therefore, the attorney’s fees judgment may be collected as any other separate money judgment. The attorney may enforce the judgment with legal action separate from the divorce proceedings, or through the use of contempt of court. The Supreme Court of Florida developed a system for determining the proof necessary to enforce payment of attorney’s fees and costs. Initially, the party receiving an award of attorney’s fees must prove to the court that the obligor spouse has not met his/her payment requirements. If evidence supports this claim, the obligor spouse must then attempt to prove he/she no longer has the ability to pay. After analyzing the evidence, the trial court will determine whether or not the obligor party has the financial ability to pay the award and whether he/she deliberately chose not to pay. The court will determine the appropriate sanctions and the terms which the obligor must meet in order to lift said sanctions.

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