When Can You Get a Domestic Relations Award for Attorney's Fees in Virginia?

A common question most clients ask during an initial divorce or family law consultation is whether we
can request attorney’s fees from the other spouse. Under Virginia law,
attorney’s fees are typically discretionary awards. This means that a judge has
the authority to make the ultimate decision regarding an award of attorney’s
fees. Review the information below regarding when you can receive an attorney’s
fees during divorce, separation or post-divorce enforcement.

Upfront Award During Divorce or Separation

You can ask the court for a temporary award of attorney’s fees and court costs from your former
spouse. If the court grants your request, your former spouse will have to pay
your attorney’s fees and court costs on a temporary basis.

The amount of your award for temporary attorney’s fees and court costs depends on your respective
incomes, your need for the award, your available monetary assets and if you
have children, your custodial arrangements.

Permanent Award Before Final Decree or Settlement

You can ask the court to award a permanent order of attorney’s fees and costs at the conclusion of your case. The court’s decision depends on several factors, including the level of
income and earnings between spouses, the legal issues, any fault and the
property distributions made to them. Courts may also consider the duration and
number of years of your marriage, the conduct of each spouse during litigation
and the amount of your requested fees. This is a discretionary award made on a
case-by-case basis.

Enforcement and Show Cause Orders

If your former spouse violates an existing court order, you may be able to sue your ex for the costs
of enforcing the court order. In many cases, a court may order one spouse to
pay the other spouse’s legal costs of enforcing and litigating the matter. If
your spouse violates a court order regarding child support, visitation schedule
or other custody issue, you can file a civil or criminal show cause motion. A
Motion to Show Cause for Contempt of Court may include a request for attorney’s
fees. It may also include a criminal charge and include jail time pursuant to
the Code of Virginia.

Contact Us Today

Let us help you understand Virginia’s divorce and domestic relations laws. Contact
our Fairfax County office
today to schedule an initial consultation.Call Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today at (703) 454-5147 for a case evaluation.

Legal Disclaimer:

The information provided on “Keithleylaw.com” is strictly for educational purposes
and to provide you with general educational information about Virginia laws.
Since state laws are subject to change, please schedule an appointment with our
office to further discuss your personal situation. This public information is
neither intended to, nor will, create an attorney-client relationship.