Over the past year, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has sent the message that the days of wealthy spouses being required to foot the tab for unrealistic divorce court litigation are over in South Florida.  The court’s recent mandates make clear that an impecunious spouse entitlement to Attorneys Fees in Florida Divorce Cases under § 61.16 can be limited or even eliminated when reasonable settlements are rejected and unnecessary or unrealistic litigation ensues.

The South Florida Daily Business Review recently featured an article by Nugent Zborowski & Bruce partner Christopher R. Bruce explaining the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s recent trend in attorneys fees in Florida divorce cases.  The court’s latest decisions indicate in trend towards refusing to require wealthy spouses to pay for their less affluent spouse’s divorce lawyer to litigate after the rejection of a reasonable settlement offer.  Mr. Bruce’s article can be viewed by clicking Christopher R. Bruce’s Florida Divorce Attorney Fee Article.

 should work as a tool for knocking down the “leverage effect” that payment of attorney’s fees hold in matrimonial settlement negotiations.  Previously it was not unusual for impecunious but nefarious spouses to take seemingly extortionist positions in settlement discussions.  In effect, their negotiation stance was: “settle for my demands or experience the pain of paying both your lawyer and mine to go further”.  Many rational spouses would avoid “the pain” of paying two experienced matrimonial lawyers to litigate by increasing what was already a reasonable offer.

Time may pass before the matrimonial bar wakes up to aknowledge the Fourth DCA’s reasoning.  In the meantime, it is advisable in most circumstances to begin memorializing the rejection of reasonable settlement offers to preserve future arguments for reducing or eliminating permanent or temporary fee awards.     

More Information on Attorneys Fees in Florida Divorce Cases       

More information on attorneys fees in Florida divorce cases is available by clicking through to Nugent Zborowski & Bruce’s Attorneys Fees in Florida Divorce Cases Resource Guide.

The Palm Beach County Divorce Lawyers of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce can be reached by calling (561) 844-1200.  More information about the firm is available at