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Guide to Requesting Attorney Fees

A common question that many parties have is whether a party can obtain attorney’s fees from the other party in order to hire an attorney to represent them through the divorce. This is a particularly important issue especially for parties who never worked during the marriage and/or the other party was the individual who had management and control of the assets and debts during the marriage. The courts are of the impression that everyone should be entitled to a divorce regardless of their economic standing. On principle, it would not be fair for the party who is working to be able to afford an attorney while the one who was the “stay-at-home” spouse would not be able to afford one due to a lack of income. This could place one party at a significant disadvantage. Fortunately, an attorney’s fees request can be made at any time and can be requested any number of times in a divorce.

How to Request for Attorney’s Fees in Corona

A request for attorney’s can be made with the court through what is known as a “Request for Order” by filing all the necessary forms as well as submitting all necessary financial information. In the paperwork, the party that is seeking attorney’s fees has to provide information as to how much is being requested and justify their request. In determining whether the court would grant an attorney’s fee request, the court makes a decision based upon an analysis and comparison of both parties’ income and needs, much like when the court considers an order of temporary spousal support. Depending on the facts of each case, the court has the discretion to order the amount of attorney’s fees. Keep in mind that the court may not grant the amount that is being requested. If granted, the court will order one party to pay the other party for his/her attorney’s fees.

What is Family Code 2030

Family Code 2030 is the code section that allows Corona divorcing parties to seek attorney fees from the other party at any stage of the case. As mentioned above, either party can simply file a Request for Order and attach the appropriate forms to set a hearing where the court will consider granting attorney fees. The request does not have to pertain only to previously incurred attorney fees, but expected attorney fees given the nature of the case. The more complex the case, the more attorney fees will be allowed.

The court will weigh each party’s access to funds to hire an attorney, the incomes and needs of each party when allowing or denying a request for fees and costs.

Accessing Community Property

Either party may access any community property liquid accounts to pay for reasonable attorney fees during the course of a divorce case in Corona. This is a specific exception to the Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATROs) listed on the Summons, which does not allow the parties to liquidate accounts except for normal living expenses.

Sanctions

In certain cases, the court will consider sanctioning a party and/or attorney for bad behavior. The Family Code Section 271 allows for such a motion, and the party seeking sanctions bears the burden of proving the bad faith. Sanctions are usually reserved for those rare circumstances when behavior is truly poor and results in the delay of the case, or increased costs.