Divorce in West Palm Beach – Attorney’s Fees Award

In a divorce proceeding, an award of attorney’s fees to a party that is payable to the party’s attorney, is considered to be an award to the party and not to the party’s attorney.  In Coppola v. Coppola the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “That report and recommendation specifically stated as follows: ‘The former husband’s request for an award of attorney’s fees and costs is hereby granted and the former wife shall, within thirty (30) days of this order, pay to the former husband $31,163.36. Payment shall be made to the former husband’s legal counsel at the address set forth within the certificate of service below.’ 

Since the entry of the December 18, 2009, order, the Former Husband has filed numerous pleadings seeking the payment of the $31,163.36 in attorney’s fees, as well as roughly $14,000 he alleges he overpaid in alimony during the time that his petition to modify his alimony obligation was pending. In June 2011, the trial court held a hearing on these motions. The record before us does not include a transcript of that hearing, but on December 22, 2011, the court issued the order on appeal. In the order, the trial court makes a factual finding that the report and recommendation upon which the December 18, 2009, attorney’s fee order was based ‘concluded that the [Former] Wife should pay direct to the Former Husband’s legal counsel the amount of $31,163.36. The judgment was not in favor of the Former Husband; rather, it was in favor of his attorneys.’ Based on this factual finding, the court concluded that ‘[t]he Former Husband has no standing or right to collect a judgment for fees that was ordered to be paid directly to his attorneys.’ We do not agree. While the report and recommendation does direct that the payment should be sent to the Former Husband’s attorney’s office, it also plainly states that ‘the former husband is hereby awarded . . . $31,163.36’ and that ‘the former wife shall, within (30) days of this order, pay to the former husband $31,163.36.’ The findings of fact included in the report and recommendation further support that the award was made to the Former Husband.”

To speak with a divorce attorney in West Palm Beach, FL contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.