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California Family Code

Family Code section 2033

2033

(a) Either party may encumber his or her interest in community real property to pay reasonable attorney's fees in order to retain or maintain legal counsel in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, for nullity of marriage, or for legal separation of the parties.  This encumbrance shall be known as a “family law attorney's real property lien” and attaches only to the encumbering party's interest in the community real property.

(b) Notice of a family law attorney's real property lien shall be served either personally or on the other party's attorney of record at least 15 days before the encumbrance is recorded.  This notice shall contain a declaration signed under penalty of perjury containing all of the following:

(1) A full description of the real property.

(2) The party's belief as to the fair market value of the property and documentation supporting that belief.

(3) Encumbrances on the property as of the date of the declaration.

(4) A list of community assets and liabilities and their estimated values as of the date of the declaration.

(5) The amount of the family law attorney's real property lien.

(c) The nonencumbering party may file an ex parte objection to the family law attorney's real property lien.  The objection shall include a request to stay the recordation until further notice of the court and shall contain a copy of the notice received.  The objection shall also include a declaration signed under penalty of perjury as to all of the following:

(1) Specific objections to the family law attorney's real property lien and to the specific items in the notice.

(2) The objector's belief as to the appropriate items or value and any documentation supporting that belief.

(3) A declaration specifically stating why recordation of the encumbrance at this time would likely result in an unequal division of property or would otherwise be unjust under the circumstances of the case.

(d) Except as otherwise provided by this section, general procedural rules regarding ex parte motions apply.

(e) An attorney for whom a family law attorney's real property lien is obtained shall comply with Rule 3-300 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California .

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