Tedder v. Gardner Aldrich, LLP (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Husband sued Wife for divorce and custody of their children. Wife hired Law Firm to represent her in the proceedings. After the jury verdict, Law Firm sued both Wife and Husband for its fees. After a hearing, Husband and Wife agreed that the final decree would award Law Firm attorney fees against Wife only and would not award Wife attorney fees against Husband. The trial court rendered judgment in accordance with their agreement. Wife subsequently sought the protection of bankruptcy and was discharged. Law Firm appealed. The court of appeals rendered judgment for Law Firm against Husband and Wife jointly and severally, holding that Husband was liable for Wife's Legal fees because (1) the obligation was a "community debt," and (2) the legal fees were "necessaries" for which Husband was liable to the firm. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Husband was not liable to pay Law Firm for legal services rendered to Wife unless those services were necessaries; and (2) legal services provided to one spouse in a divorce proceeding are not necessaries for which the other spouse is statutorily liable to pay the attorney.