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 amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com

Attorney Fees or what are 2030 fees?

Many Bay Area family law clients wonder how they will pay for their divorce. If your financial circumstances are such that your income is substantially lower than your spouses or your spouse has unique access to community resources, then you may want to seek attorneys fees.

Attorney Fees under Family Code 2030 are called “need-based” fees.  This means the Court can award fees to either party if necessary based on income and needs assessments to maintain or defend the action, if just and reasonable under the relativecircumstances of the parties.  There is no cap on 2030 attorney fees, the Court may award whatever amount is reasonably necessary for fees and costs to maintain or defend the proceeding. (FC § 2030(a)(1)). The amount of the award must be just and reasonable under the relative circumstances of the parties. (FC § 2032(a)) 

If the Court awards fees, remember that the Court must make on: (1) whether an award of fees is appropriate, (2) whether there is a disparity in access to funds to retain counsel, and (3) whether one party is able to pay for legal representation of both parties. (FC § 2030(a)(2)).

In determining what is just and reasonable under the relative circumstances of the parties, the court will take into consideration the need for the award to enable each party to have financial resources or to present his or her case adequately, taking into consideration the factors in FC § 4320, if relevant.  (FC § 2032(b)) The fact that a party requesting an award has financial resources from which to pay his or her own fees is not itself a bar to the award. (FC § 2032(b)). 

If you are seeking help with a family law matter, and are concerned about representation, please reach out to amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com to see how we can help.