One of the most common questions asked of me is whether a party can recoup their attorney’s fees from the other party. This is particularly important to people where their spouse is clearly the cause of the marriage break up through conduct such as adultery. Unfortunately, an award of attorney’s fees is extremely rare. The standard is that a party must prove that they have the inability to pay their attorney. Usually, parties have either paid their attorney or they receive sufficient assets in the divorce to pay their attorney, thus negating the right to receive fees. This principle of law was very recently affirmed in Forthner v. Forthner, No. 2009-CA-00916-COA (Decided October 19, 2010).
An exception to this rule is contempt proceedings where the Court can award fees to the aggrieved party. But, experience shows that courts typically award a fraction of what it actually costs.