How can I get help from my spouse in paying my attorney’s fees in a Ca custody or dissolution case?
The courts routinely order the payment of attorney’s fees in a Ca child custody or dissolution action based on a disparity in the incomes of the parties taking into consideration the following factors. First, under Family Code (FC) section 2030, the court is required to "ensure that each party has access to legal representation"; during the pendency of a marital dissolution proceeding by ordering one party to pay the other party’s reasonably necessary attorney fees. (§ 2030 (a)(1).). FC § 2032 prescribes additional requirements for fee awards and FC § 4320 sets forth the "circumstances"; to be considered by a court. See blog under the spousal support heading.
The court makes the attorney fee award based on an income and needs assessments. FC § 2032 provides that in determining what is just and reasonable, the court must consider the need for the award to enable each party to have sufficient financial resources to present the party’s case adequately. The fact that the party requesting an award has resources to pay the party’s own attorney’s fees and costs is not itself a bar to an award of fees. (§ 2032 (b).)
As an additional consideration, I strongly encourage parties to resolve any and all issues without the necessity of the court’s intervention. If a party makes a good faith effort to resolve an issue and his/her request is reasonable, if the matter needs to eventually be resolved by the court, one can have some immunity against a fee award because the other side acted unreasonably. Please call Covina attorney, Paul Eads if you have any questions about protecting yourself from the imposition of an attorney fee award or if you need assistance in obtaining an attorney fee award from the other party.