Hiring a good Raleigh divorce attorney to represent you in a North Carolina custody case can cost up to $25,000 in complex cases.
Of course, resolving a child custody dispute is often much more profitable, but sometimes it is necessary to take the case to court. In most cases, however, you'll end up paying several thousand dollars. Yes, child custody is the most important issue in your life and you owe it to yourself and your children to hire an experienced child custody attorney to help you succeed in a child custody case, but you must be able to make it pay, right? 🇧🇷
So your spouse might be asked to reimburse you for some or all of these charges? The answer isY, sometimes.
Payment of attorney fees in case of divorce
The issue of awarding attorney fees in litigation is governed by what is known as the "American Rule", which essentially means that each party retains and pays for its own attorney. We don't have a legal system of who loses their salary.
This rule is, of course, very general, and the law allows for exceptions as long as the law allows third parties to be awarded attorneys' fees.
What does this means?
In other words, if our state legislature (in family law cases) passes a law dealing with the determination of a matter as it is incaution,alimony,food,fair distribution, and most other family law claims, we must examine this law to see whether the award of attorney fees is expressly permitted.
Child custody is regulated in North Carolina General Statute 50-13 et. codified al., however, attorney fees are specifically addressed in NCGS 50-13.6, which in its corresponding part says:The court, in its sole discretion, may order the payment of reasonable attorneys' fees to a bona fide interested party who does not have sufficient resources to defray the costs of the suit..
Yes, we have the ability to get legal fees from the other side! Now that?
How does the fee collection work?
All we have to do is go to court, win the custody case, explain to the judge what the other party's excuse (insert your derogatory option) is, and we'll collect the attorney's fee, right?
NCGS 50-13.6 covers attorney fees for custody and support claims, which have slightly different tests but use the same language. Failure to provide adequate support relates to child support. We're talking about custody, and in a strict custody case, there won't be a lot of evidence of child support. The key test in awarding attorney fees in a custody case is a "interested party in good faith and without resources to pay the costs of the process..“
It could be argued that everyone in a custody case is acting in good faith as long as the mother and father disagree about custody. So what does that mean? If you have done something that could be considered in bad faith, you may not be able to recover your legal fees.
An example I use is when one parent snatches the child, refuses to give the other a reasonable amount of custody time, completely disregards the other parent's parental rights and the best interest of the child, then that parent forces a custody case on the child. child in court. In my opinion, they should not be entitled to reimbursement of attorney fees. In the end, it is up to the judge to decide whether there is good or bad faith.
Can you afford legal advice?
Okay, so you're acting in good faith. Just a parent trying to protect a child and his family. Great.
The next question is whether or not you can afford legal services.
Courts look at your income, assets and expenses. They will compare your finances with the other party's and determine if you have the means to pay your attorney and if the other party does as well. Apparently almost all custody attorneys in North Carolina require an upfront fee. So how can you prove you can't afford a lawyer when yours has already been paid?
You just need to show that you can't afford it..
Most people end up borrowing some money or using credit cards to help pay off child custody cases. Others pay annuities to some extent or use separate savings. You do not need to exhaust your personal assets before filing a claim for attorney fees.
For example, if you withdraw $25,000 from a retirement account to pay your attorney, that is proof that you would not otherwise be able to pay your attorney and would still be considered for attorney fees.
Until a judge decides
Finally, he passed all the tests and feels in a strong position to recover his legal fees. The most important word in the power of attorney for attorney fees is, of course, "may". In the end, the judge examines the parties' assets and income and makes a decision. The judge is not obligated to award attorney fees, even if you meet the criteria for attorney fees under the law.
Based on my practical experience in Wake County, North Carolina, over the past fourteen years, judges are much less likely to award attorney fees in custody cases than they are in child support or child support cases. That's not to say it doesn't happen, but it's rare. The reasoning behind a court's reluctance to award attorney fees in custody cases stems from the idea that each party should be able to pursue custody claims without pressing the other's claims for fear of paying attorney fees. This is where common sense can really play a role.
If you can successfully argue that the other party used their superior financial position to take advantage of you in custody matters, your chances of recovery are much better. Under no circumstances should you believe that a lawyer who brags about what you look like will induce the other party to pay you legal fees for custody, as such an outcome is far from guaranteed or even foreseeable.
At the very least, plan to pay for custody your way, but have your attorney collect the legal fees anyway. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how important custody of your children is. You can recover your financial investment, but you cannot recover lost time with your children.
Contact our family law firm for child custody assistance
Our primary focus is finding a positive custody solution for your children. If you need help with your custody case, call our Raleigh family attorneys or fill out the online contact form below.
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