What Are the Grounds For Awarding Attorney Fees in a Divorce?
The basic rule in divorce law is that the playing field should be fairly level. Specifically, it is the goal of a California court to award attorney fees in a manner that reflects a reasonable division of financial resources among the parties. This is done primarily through the discretion of the judge and a presumption that counsel fees will generally be awarded to the spouse who has a lesser income or financial ability.
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Almost all sources of income will be considered, including earned income, investment earnings, community property, and other assets. In addition, the judge may consider the income of the spouse’s new mate or partner if they share expenses and the income of any children.
In many cases, an award of attorney fees is ordered in a variety of situations, such as the failure to pay child support, a violation of a custody order, or other misconduct on the part of one spouse. The resulting awards of attorney fees can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
How Can I Ask For Attorney Fees?
The only way to ask for attorney fees in a California divorce is by filing a motion with the court. Typically, these are filed at the start of a case but can be made later if necessary. These are commonly known as pendent lite applications or interim counsel fee motions.
A spouse’s request for attorney fees can be an important tool to show a court that the party is not simply trying to get the other party to settle the case by handing over a large sum of money, but rather that the request is based on good faith and fairness. It is crucial to have a lawyer who understands the rules governing these requests so that your rights are protected and the court will rule in your favor.
How Can I Win Attorney Fees?
In most cases, it is important to be represented by an experienced divorce lawyer who understands the laws relating to attorney fees. These lawyers have the experience and knowledge to argue that a request for attorney fees is in good faith or that a judge should not consider such an order to be unfair.
If you are considering a divorce in Fresno or the surrounding area, it is imperative to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help you take advantage of your legal rights.
Your lawyer can also assist you in preparing and presenting a successful appeal or counterclaim. The lawyer can also assist you in negotiating an agreement to ensure that the outcome of your divorce is enforceable.
You should also consult with an experienced attorney if you believe that your spouse is trying to take advantage of your financial situation during the divorce. This can include stealing your funds, gambling away your retirement savings, or cheating on you.
If you have questions about attorney fees or the law relating to them, contact an experienced Fresno divorce lawyer at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today. The firm has extensive experience in all types of family law matters and has the resources to fight for your rights.