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Alimony & Attorney's Fees
Under Georgia law, a party to an alimony action, or a party to a divorce and alimony action, may be awarded attorney’s fees under certain circumstances. If the court makes this award, the other spouse would have to pay either part or all of the fees associated with that spouse’s representation during the divorce. Specifically, Georgia law concerning attorneys’ fees in divorce and alimony cases states:
“(a) The grant of attorney's fees as a part of the expenses of litigation, made at any time during the pendency of the litigation, whether the action is for alimony, divorce and alimony, or contempt of court arising out of either an alimony case or a divorce and alimony case, including but not limited to contempt of court orders involving property division, child custody, and child visitation rights, shall be:
(1) Within the sound discretion of the court, except that the court shall consider the financial circumstances of both parties as a part of its determination of the amount of attorney's fees, if any, to be allowed against either party; and
(2) A final judgment as to the amount granted, whether the grant is in full or on account, which may be enforced by attachment for contempt of court or by writ of fieri facias, whether the parties subsequently reconcile or not.
(b) Nothing contained in this Code section shall be construed to mean that attorney's fees shall not be awarded at both the temporary hearing and the final hearing."
O.C.G.A. § 19-6-2.
The purpose of this provision is to allow spouses who may not otherwise be able to afford adequate representation in their divorce matters the ability to obtain and pay for representation. Upon application for attorney’s fees, a court may grant that party an award of all, part or none of his attorney’s fees. It is within the discretion of the judge presiding over the matter whether to award attorney’s fee. Simply because one party requests them in a complaint, answer or at a temporary hearing does not automatically entitle that party to such an award. If you believe that attorney’s fees should be awarded to you in your case, speak with your family law attorney about this prospect to learn more about how this law may affect your case specifically.