In Yazdani v. Sazegar, the parties were married soon after Sazegar’s visit to the US on her green card visa. 20 months later, Saezgar filed for divorce, citing desertion, while Yazdani claimed that Saezgar emotionally abused him. As the divorce proceedings started, Yazdani also claimed that the marriage was a “green-card sham” from its very beginning. The Virginia divorce proceedings ended with the judge pushing for a settlement between the parties, and their attorneys presented a “no-fault” divorce settlement agreement the next morning. The agreement settled all issues except attorneys’ fees, but also contained a clause saying that the parties “agreed to follow the ruling of the Court upon the Court making its determination regarding’ attorneys’ fees.” The Court awarded Sazegar just under $34,000 in attorneys’ fees, despite the fact that this marriage could have been nothing more than a green-card sham (this issue was not pursued during the divorce proceedings enough for the Court to make a final determination on the matter). Since the divorce agreement stated the Court would have the final say in attorneys’ fees, Yazdani was bound to the Court’s final ruling.
Even if the marriage was a sham from its beginning, divorce fees still may have to be paid – especially when they are court ordered and in line with the parties’ signed divorce agreement. Although attorneys’ fees can never be guaranteed, our attorneys being able to secure attorneys’ fees judgements in favor of our clients, even in advance of trial, is a typical occurrence. This is especially true when there is a disparity of income between the divorcing parties.
If you have any questions regarding attorneys’ fees obligations, or if you need representation in your upcoming divorce proceedings, please call one of our offices at 804-325-1245 (Richmond) or 757-941-4298 (Williamsburg) to discuss your options.
Special Thanks to Brayden Meadows for his assistance with this article.