How to Get Attorneys’ Fees in your Family Law Case

Most of you are aware that if you do not have ready access to funds to hire an attorney in your divorce, perhaps you can have the Court order your spouse to pay them.  That would be Family Code 2030. and Family Code 2032.

What if it’s a parentage case?  Try Family Code 3121.

In most cases, these awards are MANDATORY, i.e., the statute says, “The court SHALL make findings”, or “The Court SHALL make an award of fees”.

Besides those 2 statutes, there are several others that you can use to get fees, costs, and other monetary compensation.  Use this as your guide!

Family Code 271: Against party or attorney whose conduct frustrates settlement. (sanctions)

Family Code 1101: To prevailing party in action for other party’s breach of fiduciary duty.  Up to 50 percent of value of undisclosed asset if not due to malice, fraud of oppression.  Up to 100 percent of undisclosed asset value if breach is due to malice, fraud or oppression.

Family Code 2030: Discovery sanctions.  Against party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes motion to compel.

Family Code 2033: Discovery sanctions against party who fails to admit truth of matter or genuineness of documents (Request for Admissions).

Family Code 3028 (d): The Court may award financial compensation where the custodial parent fails in caretaker responsibility, OR when one interferes with visitation rights.  Fees are limited to reasonable expenses incurred, and it requires a showing of the non-prevailing party’s ability to pay.

Family Code 3111(d): Monetary sanctions (fees and costs) awarded against any party who makes an unwarranted disclosure of a written confidential custody evaluation, unless party acted with substantial justification or other circumstances make the sanction unjust.  Amount awarded is sufficient to deter the conduct.

Family Code 3153(a): Minor’s counsel shall receive reasonable sum for compensation and costs.

Family Code 3427(e): Attorneys’ fees awarded against a party who commences a custody proceeding in California where it appears to Court that California is clearly an inappropriate forum. (fees, and costs, and reasonable travel)

Family Code 3428 (c): Attorneys’ fees awarded against party who engages in unjustifiable conduct to invoke California’s jurisdiction, provided the California court dismisses a petition or stays the proceeding based on this conduct, unless the party against whom fees are sought establishes award is clearly inappropriate. (fees, and costs, and reasonable travel and other things, like child care!)

Family Code 3450(b) and 3452(a): Attorneys’ fees awarded to prevailing party to enforce out-of-state court order, unless the party against whom fees are sought establishes award is clearly inappropriate.

Family Code 3557: Attorneys’ fees awarded to custodial parent or supported spouse in action to enforce existing child or spousal support order, absent good cause to the contrary.

Family Code 3652: Attorneys’ fees to prevailing party in action to modify, terminate or set aside a support order.

Family Code 4063(c): Attorneys’ fees against either parent  for Motion to Enforce Support for healthcare costs (filing fees and costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees).

 

 

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