Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-62

Updated January 16, 2019
Sec. 46b-62. Orders for payment of attorney's fees and fees of guardian ad litem in certain actions. Limitations on orders for payment of fees to counsel or guardian ad litem for a minor child. Methodology for calculating fees on sliding-scale basis

(a) In any proceeding seeking relief under the provisions of this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 46b-301 to 46b-425, inclusive, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362, the court may order either spouse or, if such proceeding concerns the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child, either parent to pay the reasonable attorney's fees of the other in accordance with their respective financial abilities and the criteria set forth in section 46b-82. If, in any proceeding under this chapter and said sections, the court appoints counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child, the court may order the father, mother or an intervening party, individually or in any combination, to pay the reasonable fees of such counsel or guardian ad litem or may order the payment of such counsel's or guardian ad litem's fees in whole or in part from the estate of the child. If the child is receiving or has received state aid or care, the compensation of such counsel or guardian ad litem shall be established and paid by the Public Defender Services Commission.

(b) If, in any proceeding under this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 46b-301 to 46b-425, inclusive, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362, the court appoints counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child, the court may not order the father, mother or an intervening party, individually or in any combination, to pay the reasonable fees of such counsel or guardian ad litem from a college savings account, including any account established pursuant to any qualified tuition program, as defined in Section 529(b) of the Internal Revenue Code, that has been established for the benefit of the minor child. If the court determines that the father, mother or an intervening party does not have the ability to pay such reasonable fees, the court shall not order that such reasonable fees be paid by such persons through the use of a credit card. In addition, any order for the payment of such reasonable fees shall be limited to income or assets that are not exempt property under sections 52-352a and 52-352b.

(c) In any proceeding under this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 46b-301 to 46b-425, inclusive, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362, in which the court appoints counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child, the court may order that the fees to be paid to such counsel or guardian ad litem be calculated on a sliding-scale basis after giving due consideration to the income and assets of the parties to the proceeding.

(d) The Judicial Branch shall develop and implement a methodology for calculating, on a sliding-scale basis, the fees owing to counsel or a guardian ad litem for a minor child appointed in any proceeding under this chapter and sections 17b-743, 17b-744, 45a-257, 46b-1, 46b-6, 46b-301 to 46b-425, inclusive, 47-14g, 51-348a and 52-362.

(Return to Chapter Table of Contents) (Return to List of Chapters) (Return to List of Titles)

(P.A. 73-373, S. 27; P.A. 78-230, S. 44, 54; P.A. 86-264, S. 16; P.A. 88-41; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-1, S. 54, 75; P.A. 07-159, S. 1; P.A. 11-51, S. 14; 11-214, S. 7; P.A. 14-3, S. 5; P.A. 15-71, S. 81.) History: P.A. 78-230 rephrased provisions and deleted reference to Sec. 46-5h; Sec. 46-59 transferred to Sec. 46b-62 in 1979 and references to other sections within provisions revised as necessary to reflect their transfer; P.A. 86-264 eliminated maximum compensation of $100 for attorney if child is or has received state aid or care and added provision that such compensation be established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, the judicial department; P.A. 88-41 authorized the court to order either parent to pay the reasonable attorney's fees of the other if the proceeding concerns the custody, care, education, visitation or support of a minor child and to order an intervening party individually or in any combination with the father and mother to pay the reasonable fees of an attorney appointed by the court for a minor child; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-1 made a technical change, effective January 1, 1998; P.A. 07-159 replaced provision re reasonable compensation of attorney established by, and paid from funds appropriated to, Judicial Department with provision re compensation of attorney established and paid by Commission on Child Protection, effective July 1, 2007; P.A. 11-51 substituted “Public Defender Services Commission” for “Commission on Child Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 11-214 substituted reference to Sec. 46b-213w for reference to Sec. 46b-213v; P.A. 14-3 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and amended same by substituting references to counsel or a guardian ad litem for references to attorney, added Subsec. (b) re limitations on court's authority to order payment of fees to counsel or guardian ad litem for minor child, added Subsec. (c) re court may order that fees payable to counsel or guardian ad litem for minor child be calculated on a sliding-scale basis, and added Subsec. (d) re Judicial Branch to develop and implement methodology for calculation of fees on a sliding-scale basis; P.A. 15-71 replaced references to Secs. 46b-212 to 46b-213w with references to Secs. 46b-301 to 46b-425, effective July 1, 2015. Annotations to former section 46-59: Cited. 171 C. 218; 172 C. 202; Id., 316; 174 C. 602; 183 C. 433. Annotations to present section: Trial court erred in awarding attorney's fees since evidence warranted no award of alimony and that same evidence must be considered for the award of attorney's fees. 180 C. 376. Where, because of other orders, both parties are able financially to pay their own counsel fees, trial court erred in ordering payment of counsel fees. 181 C. 492. Cited. Id., 622; 183 C. 35; 184 C. 36. A definitive award of counsel fees should not ordinarily be made until after a trial where evidence relating to the criteria set forth in Sec. 46b-82 has been presented. Id., 513. Cited. 185 C. 42; Id., 156; Id., 275; 186 C. 311; 188 C. 232; 189 C. 129; 190 C. 26; Id., 36. In awarding counsel fees, the focus of the inquiry is not on the payor-spouse but rather on the total financial resources of the parties in light of the statutory criteria. Id., 173. Cited. Id., 269; Id., 491; 191 C. 46; Id., 81; 193 C. 261; 194 C. 25; Id., 312; 207 C. 48; 210 C. 462; 211 C. 485; Id., 648; 218 C. 801; 222 C. 32; 225 C. 185. Trial court had authority under section to award attorney's fees to plaintiff without first finding defendant in contempt; judgment of Appellate Court in 41 CA 861 reversed. 241 C. 490. Present case distinguishable from 222 C. 32 because here record supports finding that plaintiff either lacked liquid assets to pay attorney fees or such fees would undermine effect of the other financial orders. 245 C. 508. Section does not authorize an award of attorney's fees against grandparents or other third parties petitioning for visitation under Sec. 46b-59. 294 C. 484. Section only allows for the payment of fees for the attorney for the minor child; the fact that section only includes language allowing for the payment of fees for the attorney for the minor child indicates that the legislature did not intend to allow payment for counsel hired by the attorney for the minor children. 312 C. 600. Cited. 1 CA 158; Id., 400; Id., 686; 2 CA 141; Id., 425; Id., 472; 3 CA 25; 4 CA 504; Id., 645; 5 CA 95; 6 CA 632; 7 CA 41. Must be construed to permit the award of attorney's fees in child support actions filed on behalf of illegitimate children. 8 CA 50. Cited. 9 CA 486; 10 CA 22; Id., 466; Id., 570. Language of this section and Sec. 46b-82 does not provide for consideration of status of legal services rendered, whether private or nonprofit, in awarding attorney's fees. 11 CA 150. Cited. Id., 268; Id., 610; 12 CA 626; 13 CA 300; Id., 512; 14 CA 541; 16 CA 193; Id., 412; 18 CA 622; 19 CA 146; 21 CA 200; 22 CA 136; Id., 392; 23 CA 98; 24 CA 343; 25 CA 41; 26 CA 527; 28 CA 854; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 85; 30 CA 292; Id., 443; 31 CA 561; Id., 582; Id., 761; 32 CA 537; Id., 733; 34 CA 462; judgment reversed, see 232 C. 750; 35 CA 246; 36 CA 305; Id., 322; 39 CA 162; 41 CA 716; Id., 861; 44 CA 605; 46 CA 87. Court can award attorney's fees for appeal of case it dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 48 CA 645. Trial court properly found that defendant was liable for plaintiff's attorney's fees but improperly awarded a dollar amount for such fees without an appropriate evidentiary showing to determine the reasonableness of such award. 54 CA 634. Trial court's discretion should be guided so that its decision regarding attorney's fees does not undermine its purpose in making any other financial award. 57 CA 165. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering plaintiff to pay $4,000 in counsel fees to defendant to defend the appeal. 69 CA 146. Reiterated previous holdings that specific finding concerning award of attorney's fees not required if record would support a finding that the party to whom attorney's fees are charged does not have sufficient liquid assets to pay such fees or that failure to award such fees would undermine other financial orders of the court. 79 CA 783. Trial court abused its discretion in awarding plaintiff counsel fees of $100,000 because court could not reasonably have concluded that plaintiff was financially unable able to pay her counsel fees or that the failure to award such fees would undermine court's other financial orders. 82 CA 41. Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it determined plaintiff lacked funds to defend appeal and ordered defendant to pay a set fee to plaintiff's attorney. 83 CA 478. Trial court judgment awarding attorney's fees award must be reversed because court's basis for award was improper. 102 CA 1. Trial court improperly decided issue regarding who drafted agreement and therefore award of counsel fees was improper. Id., 96. Although the order for payment of guardian ad litem fees requires consideration of the financial resources of both parties and the criteria set forth in Sec. 46b-82, postdissolution fault is not a factor included among those enumerated in said section, and there is no requirement that the court consider any additional factors or evidence deemed relevant by any of the parties. 107 CA 488. Court did not abuse its discretion when it considered party's litigation misconduct to form part of the basis of an award of attorney's fees for an appeal. 110 CA 798. Court did not abuse its discretion in ordering plaintiff to pay fees and counsel for guardian ad litem because section makes clear the court has power to order payment of reasonable fees regardless of whether there is a written contract or retainer agreement. 117 CA 304. Trial court not authorized to choose from which of defendant's assets fees shall be paid. 159 CA 167. Trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to the defendant because the consideration of ample liquid assets pertains to the party requesting fees, not to the party opposing the award. 168 CA 141.