Divorce cases can be emotionally and financially draining. Sometimes, the parties in a divorce case are not on equal footing when it comes to economic resources. To avoid the prejudices that may arise in such situations, a judge can award attorney’s fees to a party.
Attorney’s Fees as Interim Spousal Support
Tennessee law addresses discrepancies in the financial resources of the parties in carrying out divorce litigation through what is known as “interim” spousal support orders. Also known as a pendente lite—Latin for “pending litigation”—a party may receive financial support from the other party to help cover the costs associated with living at the marital standard of living.
Tennessee Code § 36-5-121 provides that, “The court may, in its discretion, at any time pending the final hearing, upon motion and after notice and hearing, make any order that may be proper to compel a spouse to pay any sums necessary for the support and maintenance of the other spouse, to enable such spouse, to prosecute or defend the suit of the parties and to make other orders as it deems appropriate …”
An award of attorney’s fees as interim spousal support requires courts to consider the following factors:
- The financial needs of each spouse
- The financial ability of each spouse to meet their needs
Post-Judgment Attorney’s Fees
In certain circumstances, a Tennessee court may award attorney’s fees to cover the costs of modifying or enforcing alimony obligations. In 2018, the General Assembly of Tennessee amended Tennessee Code § 36-5-103(c), allowing the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees from the opposing party in legal proceedings occurring after a divorce.
The proceedings where attorney’s fees are recoverable after the court renders a final divorce decree include:
- Spousal support enforcement proceedings
- Proceedings for the modification of alimony orders
- Child support enforcement proceedings
- Proceedings for the modification of child support orders
- The enforcement or modification of child custody orders
Learn More by Consulting Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC Today
A person’s obligations and rights under Tennessee family law—such as issues connected to the payment of attorney’s fees in divorce cases—can be challenging to understand without the help of a licensed attorney. At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, you can count on our dedicated family lawyers to promote your legal interests and preserve your rights as your trusted advisors and advocates.Schedule a free consultation by calling us at (731) 256-0023 or contacting our office online today.