Divorce in Wellington, Florida – Attorney’s Fees

In a divorce proceeding involving a prevailing party provision in a marital settlement agreement, where claims are separate, the prevailing party on each claim is entitled to an award of fees. Where claims are inextricably intertwined, an award of fees in favor of the prevailing party is appropriate. InSchoenlank v. Schoenlank, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: 

“[W]here each claim is separate and distinct and would support an independent action… the prevailing party on each distinct claim is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees for those fees generated in connection with that claim.” River Bridge Corp., 76 So. 3d at 989 (citing Folta v. Bolton,493 So. 2d 440,442 (Fla.1986)). However, where the claims litigated are ‘inextricably intertwined’ or involve a ‘common core of facts,’ an award of attorney’s fees may be appropriate as to the entire litigation. See Chodorow v. Moore, 947 So. 2d 577, 579-80 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (finding that an attorney’s fees award for the whole litigation may be appropriate when a statute mandates payment of attorney’ s fees to the prevailing party on one claim when other claims in the suit are closely factually related)…We need not determine whether these were two distinct and separable issues, or whether the issues are so inextricably intertwined as to be seen as one, because neither party clearly prevailed on either issue regardless of whether we view the litigation piecemeal or in total. Each party prevailed, and lost, on significant issues as to the support modification and the equitable distribution payments respectively, and each party prevailed and lost on significant issues as to the litigation in its entirety. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that both parties prevailed and that neither was entitled to an award of attorney’s fees.”

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