Counsel Fee Awards – Settlement Drafting Tip

Litigants can agree in their Matrimonial Settlement Agreement that specific counsel fees will be awarded to one party if the other party violates certain aspects of the settlement agreement.  In such a scenario, as a general rule, the courts will seek to enforce that agreement.  Judges have wide latitude when interpreting a domestic relations agreement (such as a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement).  However, if it was the intent of the parties to promote a stable agreement by requiring reimbursement by the party who was unnecessarily forced to pay an attorney, a judge is likely to order that the offending party pay counsel fees to the other.

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