Menu Close

Family Court Act 438
FCA 438: Counsel fees

Family Court Act 438
Counsel fees

(a) In any proceeding under this article, including proceedings for support of a spouse and children, or for support of children only, or at any hearing to modify or enforce an order entered in that proceeding or a proceeding to modify a decree of divorce, separation, or annulment, including an appeal under article eleven, the court may allow counsel fees at any stage of the proceeding, to the attorney representing the spouse, former spouse or person on behalf of children.

(b) In any proceeding for failure to obey any lawful order compelling payment of support of a spouse or former spouse and children, or of children only, the court shall, upon a finding that such failure was willful, order respondent to pay counsel fees to the attorney representing the petitioner or person on behalf of the children.  Representation by an attorney pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision nine of section one hundred eleven-b of the social services law shall not preclude an award of counsel fees to an applicant which would otherwise be allowed under this section.

This section of the Family Court Act is provided as part of a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law for reference only. Statutes and codes such as FCA 438 are frequently amended, and no representation is made that the above version of FCA 438 is current. Updated statutes and codes may be available at the New York State Legislature Website. No statute should be relied on without understanding controlling case law which may further interpret it. An attorney should be consulted for legal advice.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mr. Barics at or (631) 864-2600. For more articles and information, please visit

J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York.