final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 15-11270, Sarah I. Zabel, Judge.
Bravo Law Firm, PLLC and Jason Bravo; Garcia-Menocal Irias
& Pastori LLP and Jorge Garcia-Menocal, for appellant.
Gallardo Law Office, P.A. and Natalia Timmons and Leisy
Jimenez, for appellee. Before ROTHENBERG, C.J., and SUAREZ
and LUCK, JJ.
Ortiz, former husband, appeals from an order denying his
motion for reconsideration of the trial court's award of
the former wife's statutory pre- judgment attorney's
fees. We affirm in part and reverse in part and remand for
former husband asserts on appeal that the Final Judgment of
Dissolution of Marriage erroneously awarded the former wife
prejudgment attorney's fees. Prior to the final
dissolution hearing, the parties entered into a Mediated
Settlement Agreement (Partial Agreement) solely resolving
issues concerning the minor child. The Agreement specifically
stated, "Parties hereby agree to reserve on any issues
not specifically addressed herein." It also stated
"Each party shall be responsible for his/her own
attorney's fees and/or costs associated with the present
litigation." The former husband argued for the first
time during his motion for reconsideration below that
pursuant to that language the former wife had waived any
claim to any attorney fees for the entire
litigation. The trial court correctly rejected this
argument. Parties to a marriage cannot contract away or waive
temporary support and attorney's fees before a final
judgment is entered. Belcher v. Belcher, 271 So.2d 7
(Fla. 1972); see also Lashkajani v. Lashkajani, 911
So.2d 1154 (Fla. 2005); Schecter v. Schecter, 109
So.3d 833 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013). We therefore affirm the trial
court's order that the former wife did not waive her
claim for statutory pre-dissolution attorney's fees
next question is whether the former wife is entitled to such
fees and, if so, the amount. The standard for the trial
court's award of attorney's fees in a dissolution
action first depends upon the financial need of the
requesting party and the financial ability to pay of the
other party. Derrevere v. Derrevere, 899 So.2d 1152,
1153 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006); § 61.16, Fla. Stat. (2016).
After making that determination, the trial court then must
determine whether the fees requested are reasonable. In
determining the reasonableness of attorney's fee, courts
should consider the following factors:
(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty
of the issues, and the legal skill required; (2) the
likelihood that the representation will preclude other
employment by the lawyer; (3) the customary fee; (4) the
result obtained; (5) the time limitations imposed by the
client or circumstances; (6) the nature and length of the
professional relationship with the client; (7) the
experience, reputation and ability of the lawyers; and (8)
whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
Campbell v. Campbell, 46 So.3d 1221, 1222-23 (Fla.
4th DCA 2010); Schwartz v. Schwartz, 965
So.2d 832, 833-34 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007). "Where there is
nothing in the trial court's order that allows the
appellate court to discern whether any of the above factors
were considered in determining a reasonable attorney's
fee, a fee award simply taking the amount charged by the
attorney and determining it to be reasonable is improper and
an abuse of discretion." Campbell, 46 So.3d at
1223. "[T]he trial court must make specific factual
findings-either at the hearing or in the written
judgment-supporting its determination of entitlement to an
award of attorney's fees." Perez v. Perez,
100 So.3d 769, 771 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012). And "if the trial
court determines that there is an entitlement to fees, the
court must 'set forth findings regarding the factors that
justify the specific amount awarded.'"
Id.; Rowe v. Rodriguez-Schmidt, 128 So.3d
158, 159 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013).
absence of factual findings in this record as to the
parties' need and ability to pay, and reasonableness of
fees makes it impossible for us to review the propriety of
the trial court's award of fees. Therefore, we remand
solely for the trial court to apply the necessary analysis
and make the required written findings of the parties'
needs, ability to pay, reasonableness of fees, and factors
justifying the attorney's fees requested.
in part, reversed and remanded in part.
ROTHENBERG, C.J, concurs.
J., concurring in part ...