Fitch Law Partners LLP
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Counsel Fees

Using a QDRO to Collect Attorney's Fees

In Silverman v. Spiro, 438 Mass. 725 (2003), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a judge can enter a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) requiring a party in a domestic relations dispute to pay the other party's attorney's fees and costs (attorney's fees) out of his or her retirement account in the context of a claim for the collection of past due spousal or child support.

Motion for Counsel Fees Pendente Lite

All clients involved in litigation need money to pay their counsel's legal bills, which include the initial retainer fee, fees incurred during the pendency of the litigation, and often replenishing the retainer fee.  A client obtaining a divorce, however, has a unique problem in that they are precluded from dissipating marital assets -- i.e., using marital assets for their own use when the marriage is coming to an end and with the intent of depriving the other spouse of his or her fair share of the marital estate.  Although the payment of reasonable counsel fees is not a violation of the automatic financial restraining order under Rule 411, even in the absence of a motion for counsel fees pendente lite, using joint marital assets to pay one party's counsel's fees reduces the total amount of the marital estate, thereby depriving the other spouse of their fair share of equitable distribution of all marital assets at the conclusion of the case.

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Fitch Law Partners LLP
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Boston, MA 02108

Phone: 617-542-5542
Fax: 617-542-1542
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Fitch Law Partners LLP
56 Pine St
Providence, RI 02903

Phone: 401-521-6500
Fax: 401-274-2780
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Fitch Law Partners LLP
110 Cedar Street
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Wellesley Hills, MA 02481

Phone: 617-542-5542
Fax: 617-542-1542
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