Florida Courts can award temporary support to a spouse who requests it in a petition, motion, or answer. The spouse requesting the temporary support must prove he or she has a need for support while the divorce or other family action is pending AND that the other person has the ability to pay.
If you’re the person in need of support, include your request in the petition, response, and counterclaim. Follow-up with filing a motion to speed up the process and have the motion heard before the trial.
How to ask for support while divorce is pending:
Need support and your spouse can afford it during the divorce? Ask for fees in your petition, motion, or answer. Here’s how to make the request via a motion:
- You must draft a Motion for Temporary Support. State that you need support during the litigation. Also, affirm your spouse can provide support. Remember, a court won’t award temporary support if you don’t request it. Consult a professional or conduct your own research to ensure your motion adheres to court rules.
- File the Motion by either sending it to your local courthouse where the case is pending or filing it via the Florida E-Filing Portal.
- Before setting the Motion for hearing, make sure you have submitted your mandatory disclosures to the other spouse, including your financial affidavit. A court will not set your Motion for hearing if your mandatory disclosures are not completed.
- Once you’ve filed your certificate of compliance, provide your documents to your spouse. Then, contact the judge’s assistant and request a hearing date. The judicial assistant will need to contact your spouse or his/her attorney to coordinate a date that works for everyone. The judge’s information can be found on each respective circuit court‘s website.
- Once a date is set, you will need to submit a Notice of Hearing containing the date, time, courtroom, and motion to be heard.
You must send your spouse a copy of the Motion and Notice of Hearing. Bring extra copies of the Motion with you to provide one to the judge, if necessary.
Can the Court require a party to pay for their spouse’s attorney’s fees?
Courts have the authority to order a party to pay a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees and costs to the other party in a divorce. See Florida Statute § 61.16(1). The financial need of the requesting party and the other’s ability to pay determines this. This point is crucial. That is key.
In Florida, judges have broad discretion over temporary relief awards. Appellate courts rarely interfere. This only happens under compelling circumstances. Pedraja v. Garcia, 667 So. 2d 461, 462 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996).
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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