Articles Posted in Attorney fees

Jesse Williams is opening his wallet wide for his estranged wife, to the tune of $160,000. That means that Williams was earning a significant amount more that Aryn his wife.  Spousal support in California is determined by numerous factors according to the family law code.  It takes into account the length of marriage and the incomes of the parties and there capacity to earn a living.

Jesse’s estranged wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, just filed legal docs which disclose a temporary settlement, in which Jesse agrees to give her $100k for spousal and child support and $60k to cover her lawyer’s fees and other costs.  Attorney fees are dealt with on an as need basis.

He has to pay her in 3 installments from his first 3 “Grey’s Anatomy” paychecks.

A decade after Alicia Stephenson left the 30,000-square-foot home she shared with her multimillionaire husband on a 180-acre northwest suburban estate, a divorce judge soon could decide whether she is entitled to $400,000 a month in living expenses.

Stephenson has argued she needs that much money to live the privileged lifestyle to which she had become accustomed during her marriage to Richard Stephenson, founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Alicia Stephenson, who argues she was an integral part of her husband’s business success, also is seeking millions of dollars from various trusts and entities established during the marriage. And she wants to reclaim a Porsche she received as a wedding present and other luxury items.

Mel B “Scary Spice” of the Spice Girls is getting a divorce.  She and her husband Stephen Belafonte separated last year in 2016.  Apparently she alleged that the marriage was toxic.  And from the tabloid coverage of the divorce proceedings it seems that they did have a quite volatile relationship.  Her musical career had a lot of great music and was quite harmonious, however, her personal life with Belafonte was full of dangerous issues that were anything like her music. Her bandmates had heard from her behind the scenes and told her she must free herself from the abuse she alleged to have undergone from Belafonte. Scary Spice recently suffered from the death of her father.  After his death she became introspective about her life.  Mel B apparently suffered from years of abuse.  Belafonte was allegedly abusive and controlling.  Police were called to her house on allegations of false imprisonment. meaning she was not free to leave her house in fear of violence or injury.

Mel B had previously been involved in bisexual relationships and had been planning the divorce for two years. She had attempted to split from Belafonte several times.  She would succeed in breaking up temporarily and then would somehow feel lured back into the relationship.  However, finally she decided to file for divorce in Los Angeles citing irreconcilable differences.  She shares a child with Belafonte named Madison Brown Belafonte.

Belafonte had admitted to battering his prior girlfriend Nicole Contreras. Mel B continued to make positive statements about Belafonte while she was filing for divorce which created confusion about her true intentions. In addition, she had a interesting past because had a fling with Eddie Murphy which produced her first child.

In Vakharwala v Vakharwala, a Supreme Court of Georgia case came up upon appeal. The issues that the husband appealed were orders of attorney fees, child custody modification and spousal support.  In addition, there was a prenuptial agreement the parties entered into prior to marriage. Mr. Vakharwala disputed the amount of attorney fees that were to be awarded to the wife.  He disputed the reason they were awarded and if they were the proper amount. In the prenuptial agreement the parties entered into prior to the marriage it stated that the parties waived any financial aid from the other party for spousal support. Therefore, Mr. Vakharwala appealed the attorney fee award to his wife during the divorce proceedings.  The appellate Court ruled in his favor as a result.  However, interestingly their ruling was based on the prenuptial agreement which waived spousal support.  A Georgia statute made it clear that attorney fees were often used as spousal support and were “intrinsic” to it function.  Normally, according to Georgia Code sections attorney fees are part of Spousal support.  Therefore any award to to a party of attorney fees was in fact spousal support.  So Mr. Vakharwala prevailed on appeal based on this Georgia statute. The wife should not have received the $60,000 in attorney fees because she had already received a temporary order for spousal support.

In California family Court besides awarding attorney fees as a sanction the attorney fees can be awarded as a way to help a divorce litigant hire an attorney when the other party is also represented by counsel during the divorce. This is a common practice in divorce proceedings to create a level playing field for all divorce parties.

The Court also did at the same time award wife sanctions for the husbands conduct that abused the discovery process and delayed the divorce proceedings.  Thus the wife prevailed in getting attorney fees through the other Georgia statute enabling a party to be awarded monetarily for the abuse of the court system by the other party.  Any prenuptial agreement that stated that there was a a waive of attorney fees under a normal setting would be ignored in this scenario.