Divorce in Wellington, Florida – Award of Attorney’s Fees

In a divorce proceeding, notwithstanding the lack of reservation of jurisdiction to enforce a charging lien, the trial court retains jurisdiction to enforce a charging lien where the trial court reserves jurisdiction to award fees. In Card v. Card, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2015, 2016 (Fla. 2d DCA September 20, 2013), the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “Counsel for the Former Wife also argues that the trial court erred by not reserving jurisdiction in the amended final judgment to address his timely filed charging lien.

There is no dispute that counsel filed the notice and claim of charging lien before the original final judgment was entered. Thus, counsel perfected his charging lien by providing timely notice. See Daniel Mones, P.A. v. Smith, 486 So. 2d 559,561 (Fla. 1986) (“In order to give timely notice of a charging lien an attorney should either file a notice of lien or otherwise pursue the lien in the original action.”); see also Sinclair, Louis, Siegel, Heath, Nussbaum & Zavertnik, P.A. v. Baucom, 428 So. 2d 1383, 1385 (Fla. 1983) (“[T]here are no requirements for perfecting a charging lien beyond timely notice.”); Brown v. Vt. Mut. Ins. Co, 614 So. 2d 574, 580 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993) (holding that to be “timely” the notice of a charging lien must be filed “before the lawsuit has been reduced to judgment”). Notwithstanding a lack of express reservation of jurisdiction over the charging lien, the trial court is not foreclosed from considering the charging lien in this action because the issue of attorney’s fees and costs has not been finalized and the trial court reserved jurisdiction for that purpose. See Baker & Hosteller, LLP v. Swearingen, 99S So. 2d 1158,1163 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (holding that the trial court had jurisdiction to consider a motion to perfect and enforce an attorney’s charging lien where the trial court reserved jurisdiction to determine entitlement and amount of attorney’s fees).”

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

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