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Counsel Fee Awards: NY versus CT

Counsel fee awards have a higher bar in Connecticut (NY versus CT)

Attorney Kevin Brown Family Law Attorney

Attorney Kevin C. Brown

Counsel fees often become an issue in contested divorce proceedings, even in high-net-worth cases.

If residency requirements to file for divorce are met in both New York and Connecticut and you are trying to figure out how to pay for your divorce, evaluating the best state in which to file for your divorce could highlight material differences in the scope, timing, and amount of potential Counsel Fee awards in one state versus the other.

There are significant differences in the law between Connecticut and New York as it relates Counsel Fee awards.

It is always best practice to consult with an experienced divorce and family lawyer that practices actively in both New York and Connecticut to help you evaluate if there are compelling or strategic reasons to file in one state versus the other.

Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law has extensive experience with spousal support awards in both states.


Counsel Fee Awards in New York Divorce

The law in New York establishes a presumption that counsel fees should be awarded to the non-monied spouse and that fees should be awarded both on a pendente lite (while the case is pending) basis as well as a final basis.

In our experience, New York courts are more likely to consider the parties’ litigation conduct in rendering a fee award; a party who unreasonably refuses or settle or drives up the cost of the case should anticipate that his or her conduct will be a factor in determining responsibility for counsel fees.

 Counsel Fee Awards in Connecticut Divorce

Similarly, Connecticut empowers courts to make temporary and final fee awards, but when the court considers a request for such an award, Connecticut courts place a greater weight on the requesting party’s ability to use his or her own assets to pay the fees.

A party who has access to funds to pay his or her attorney will usually be less likely to receive a fee award, even if he or she is the less monied spouse.


Consult an attorney or law firm with experienced in both New York and Connecticut Divorce

If you can make a case for dual residency in Connecticut and New York, it is critical to evaluate the differences in applicable law and how those differences might impact the scope, timing, and amount of Counsel Fee award in your divorce.

Needle | Cuda: Divorce and Family Law has extensive experience with motions for counsel fee awards in both states.

Contact us at 203-557-9500 or through the firm’s website,

Link to Compare NY vs CT Divorce


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