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Is it normal practice for an attorney to charge an additional fee when it's necessary to take an ex back to court for contempt?

Belleview, FL |

I divorced my wife in 2012. She has continually been in contempt of the divorce decree and refuses to comply, even becoming nasty and harassing when I mention it. The atty that handled the divorce wants to charge me another hefty fee up front to take my ex back to court for contempt. Why should I pay again? Shouldn't my ex be responsible for any atty fees associated with the contempt case? She's the one in contempt, not me.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I presume you had a written fee agreement with your divorce lawyer, correct? Read it again carefully and you will have the answer to your question. But that aside, you can't possibly believe that your attorney is on the hook to provide services to you no matter what happens post-divorce, can you? Sorry to say, the divorce was then, this is now. I will be surprised if the fee agreement states that "if your now ex-spouse acts in contempt of your final decree, legal services will be provided without any additional payment" (or words to that effect). Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear.

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  2. Normal pratice? Yes.

    Applicable to your scenario--depends on your fee agreement with the attorney.

    I am not a FL attorney, and some states have their own rules, but in most juridcictions litigants pay for their own legal fees (unless a statute directs otherwise). ITs called the 'American rule' for attorney fees.

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  3. This is a normal practice as this involves additional work.

    Lawrence J. Marraffino
    Gainesville Divorce Lawyer

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