How do I enforce my court order that my ex pay my attorneys fees?

Experienced Bay Area family law attorneys will sometimes encounter a situation where although the other side has been ordered to pay fees, they simply refuse to do so.  

Typically, when the court makes an attorneys fee award, the court orders that payor spouse make the payment directly to the recipient spouse or the the recipient spouses’ attorney. Sometimes the payor does not have the money or does not want to pay. This is a violation of a court order and contempt of court. 

The remedy for failure to pay is not to file another family law motion, but instead to enforce the fee award through California Code of Civil Procedure (see Title 9, Enforcement of Judgments Section 680.010 and Section 1209 et sq. Relating to contempt of court). 

If you have questions about how to enforce a fee award, please email me at

Can you impute income from assets?

Maybe. The court's ability to impute income from assets derives from section 4058, which defines "annual gross income" as "income from whatever source derived," and states that "[t]he court may, in its discretion, consider the earning capacity of a parent in lieu of the parent's income . . . ." (Id. at subds. (a) & (b).) The provision has been consistently interpreted to include the supporting party's ability to earn income from non-income producing or underperforming assets. 

You can contact me at for more information.



What is a Gavron warning?

If you are paying spousal support you may want to ask the Court to make a Gavron warning. 

A Gavron warning is when making a spousal support order, the court may advise the supported party that he or she should make reasonable efforts to assist in providing for his or her support needs, taking into account the particular circumstances considered by the court under Fam C §4320, unless, in the case of a marriage of long duration as provided for in Fam C §4336 the court decides this warning is inadvisable. Fam C §4330(b). The warning may be provided before trial as part of a temporary support order, or by stipulation, or possibly by notice from the supporting party. If the court issues the order, it should be reflected in the order or Judgment.  

You can contact me at for more information.