Saturday, March 17, 2007

Attorney fees, again - Custody Cases Ordering Fees

While catching up on some reading, I ran across the following and wanted to share. The Indiana Court of Appeals described the means for determining when and how to award attorney fees:

  1. Start with Indiana Code § 31-17-7-1 (the court may order a party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost of the other party maintaining an action for custody modification and for attorney fees and mediation services.)
  2. The trial court has broad discretion in awarding attorney fees which will be upheld so long as the decision is not clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances. (See In re Marriage of Bartley, 712 N.E.2d 537, 546 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)
  3. The court may consider such factors as the resources of the parties, the relative earning ability of the parties, and other factors which bear on the reasonableness of the award. (See In re Marriage of Bartley, 712 N.E.2d 537, 546 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)
  4. Any misconduct on the part of one party which causes the other party to directly incur additional fees may be taken into consideration. Meade v. Levett, 671 N.E.2d 1172, 1179 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996).
  5. When one party is in a superior position to pay fees over the other party, an award of attorney fees is proper. Bartley, 712 N.E.2d at 546.
  6. Permitting the awarding of attorney fees serves to insure Indiana's policy of equal access to the courts despite the relative financial conditions of the parties. Heiligenstein v. Matney, 691 N.E.2d 1297, 1305 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998)
Haley v. Haley(Microsoft Word format).

No comments: