One of the most significant updates in the Act relates to interim post-divorce or “post-decree” attorney’s fees. A petition for temporary attorney’s fees in post-judgment matters may be heard on a non-evidentiary summary basis; this change effectively declares that evidentiary hearings are no longer mandatory. With this change its important to note that although a judge may hear post-decree fee petitions on a summary basis now, the judge should be mindful of the practical implication of doing so. For example, its on thing to make a party pay the attorney’s fees of a former spouse when it is known the payee spouse could afford to eventually return the money to the payor spouse in the event the judge ultimately determines the payor spouse was not obligated in the first place. However, if it is known the payee spouse could not reimburse a payor spouse, the judge should consider the payor spouse’s potential financial loss.
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