Whether it be the price of avocados, gasoline, or housing prices and inflation are going up and causing many Americans to buckle down and create savings wherever they can. Then, as many custodial parents have also encountered, the curve ball comes: another Petition to Modify Custody. So much for saving money, right?
When we hear and read headlines of celebrities getting attorney fees awards in their highly publicized cases, surely a parent, who is only doing what’s right and best for Little Johnny or Janey should have their fees paid by the other side too, right? Wrong.
A discussion I have with many clients, and not just those involved in custody disputes, flows from the question: Will they have to pay my legal fees?
Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on your perspective) there are limited instances where a party is able to recover legal fees. In the context of Child Custody Litigation, the wise and noble Pennsylvania Legislature saw fit to provide us with statutory authorization to seek fees in child custody actions.
Pursuant to Section 5339 of the Child Custody Act, “a court may award reasonable interim or final counsel fees, costs, and expenses to a party if the court finds that the conduct of another party was obdurate, vexatious, repetitive, or in bad faith.”
23 Pa.C.S.A. § 5339
So how often does this actually happen? When can a client expect to get counsel fees? It depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Some matters are clear cut, others are anything but; however, I’ve seen awards in instances of both.
To find out if you would be eligible for counsel fees in your child custody, divorce, or other domestic relations related matter, contact Attorney Michael Rovito today to schedule a consultation.