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Georgia divorce – attorney’s fees for frivolous litigation

Georgia divorce attorneys are often asked what happens when one party is dragging their feet and costing the other more in attorney’s fees. With divorces, often there is a high level of emotion involved, causing people to fight longer and harder, whether they are conscious of it or not. Luckily, there is a Georgia statute that cover such a situation.

Attorney’s fees for frivolous litigation may be awarded if the court “finds that an attorney or party brought or defended an action, or any part thereof, that lacked substantial justification or that the action, or any part thereof, was interposed for delay or harassment, or if it finds that an attorney or party unnecessarily expanded the proceeding by other improper conduct, including, but not limited to, abuses of discovery procedures.” OCGA §9-15-14(b). “As used in this Code section, ‘lacked substantial justification’ means substantially frivolous, substantially groundless, or substantially vexatious.” Id. An example of a situation where fees may be awarded under this subsection is where one party refuses to cooperate with a Guardian ad Litem, or continuously refuses to answer discovery.

In addition, attorney’s fees are required to be awarded, when requested, if the other party “has asserted a claim, defense, or other position with respect to which there existed such a complete absence of any justiciable issue of law or fact that it could not be reasonably believed that a court would accept the asserted claim, defense, or other position.” OCGA§9-15-14(a). This is an extremely high standard and fees are not as likely under this subsection as under the one discussed above.

Fees awarded under this code section “shall not exceed amounts which are reasonable and necessary for defending or asserting the rights of a party.” OCGA §9-15-14(d). Thus, you cannot arbitrarily ask for $10,000 to punish the other party – you must prove that the amount is reasonable in light of the actions of the other party.


Attorney's Fees
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