Attorney fees in Flint divorce.  Presented here by Flint Divorce Attorney Terry Bankert 235-1970

“Under the ‘American rule,’ attorney fees are not recoverable as an element of costs or damages unless expressly allowed by statute, court rule, common-law exception, or contract.” Reed, 265 Mich App at 164 (citation omitted).”
“In domestic relations cases, attorney fees are authorized by both statute, MCL 552.13, and court rule, MCR 3.206(C).” Id. MCL 552.13(1) provides, in relevant part, that a court may require either party “to pay any sums necessary to enable the adverse party to carry on or defend the action,” and “may award costs against either party . . . .” MCR 3.206(C) addresses the award of attorney fees in domestic relations matters as follows:
(1) A party may, at any time, request that the court order the other party to pay all or part of the attorney fees and expenses related to the action or a specific proceeding, including a post-judgment proceeding.
(2) A party who requests attorney fees and expenses must allege facts sufficient to show that
(a) the party is unable to bear the expense of the action, and that the other party is able to pay, or
(b) the attorney fees and expenses were incurred because the other party refused to comply with a previous court order, despite having the ability to comply.
“Attorney fees in a divorce action are awarded only as necessary to enable a party to prosecute or defend a suit but are also authorized when the requesting party has been forced to incur expenses as a result of the other party’s unreasonable conduct in the course of litigation.” Richards, 310 Mich App at 700 (quotation marks and citation omitted). As such, “MCR 3.206(C)(2) provides two independent bases for awarding attorney fees and expenses.” Id. “Whereas MCR 3.206(C)(2)(a) allows payment of attorney fees based on one party’s inability to pay and the other party’s ability to do so, MCR 3.206(C)(2)(b) considers only a party’s behavior, without reference to the ability to pay.” Id. at 701.” 

“The party requesting the attorney fees has the burden of showing facts sufficient to justify the award.” Borowsky v Borowsky, 273 Mich App 666, 687; 733 NW2d 71 (2007).
(See e-journal 65591)

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