Monday, February 27, 2012
The Maryland Court of Appelas reversed the Court of Special Appeals and held that 'the consideration that one party was represented on a pro bono basis, in an award of attorneys' fees to the other party who had retained counsel was erroneous under [the statute governing awards of costs and fees in family law matters]" and remanded for reconsideration of the statutory factors.
The case involved a custody modification proceeding. The petitioner was represented pro bono by the Sexual Assault Legal Institute. Her ex-husband retained counsel and accumulated over $70,000 in legal fees.
The trial court ordered the petitioner to pay her ex-huband over $30,000 in legal fees and costs because "she was in a better financial position than [the ex-husband], due to her having received pro bono representation..." (Mike Frisch)