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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 28800
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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A lawyer in Florida told my wife who filed before I did

Customer Question

A lawyer in Florida told my wife who filed for divorce before I did although she was the adulterer who confessed to a year long extra marital affair
that she would not have to pay the legal fees if she filed for divorce first and gave a 10,000 dollar retainer from my credit card based on that information. is that true
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

In a word: no. That's ridiculous. There's no law that the person who files for divorce first gets to charge their legal fees to the other spouse's credit card. If your wife's name isn't on that card, you can call and dispute the charges as fraudulent. If her name IS ***** ***** card, she had a right to make the charge, but you'll be able to ask the judge to order her to repay the debt as part of the divorce (plus any other legal fees she winds up charging). If you know that she has access to funds now, you could file a motion in the divorce court asking the judge to order her to repay the credit card without waiting.

Florida law DOES allow a judge to order one spouse to pay the other's attorney's fees in connection with a divorce, after considering the respective financial resources of the parties. Fl. Stat., Section 61.16. But the way to request that is to file a Motion for Attorney's Fees, not to con the client into putting the fees on their spouse's credit card. That way, you have an impartial third party deciding whether it's fair to make you pay for her lawyer (or her pay for yours, if she has more money than you). The decision for whether to allow an attorney's fees award is based upon the respective assets of the parties. Your wife's misconduct in causing the divorce does not come into play, for two reasons. One is the default rule that all your assets that were acquired during the marriage legally belong to both of you, so she has as much right to use that money to get a divorce as you do. The other line of reasoning is that the courts want the parties to be on equal footing in a divorce. They don't want a spouse with no money to hire expensive lawyers and run all over a spouse with low income or assets who has to go to court alone. But the judge is the one who decides when a spouse should have to pay for the other spouse's legal fees.

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