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Can I ask at family court to cover attorney fees and compensation for defamation?

San Jose, CA |

My ex-wife, claims in the court documents I have not paid to her child and spousal support, for the last 5 years. I have paid. It took me significant time and effort to recover the bank transactions. If I would fail to collect evidence, the court would probably ask me to pay her over $25,000. Can I ask court to cover attorney fees? Can I ask court to compensate my time and stress caused by this court?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    If your ex’s claims were entirely false you certainly would have a reasonable basis to recover attorney fees and costs. Can you be compensated for your time and stress, No.

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  2. If you prove that her claims are false, you may be able to obtain an order for attorney fees, including sanctions. It's not clear that you could ever collect them; does she have any assets or income which you could garnish?

    No, you can't recover fees for emotional distress in family court.


  3. Accord with Mr. Gould-Saltman's excellent response. You can seek Family Code Section 271 Sanctions and attorney's fees via an appropriately drafted RFO, with your bank proof of payment documents attached as exhibits. Your RFO can address the time, cost and stress caused to you by your ex-wife's false claims, and the Court may possibly consider those things in making a Sanctions order. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to prepare and prosecute that RFO. Collectibility may be difficult unless your ex-wife has assets or a job that would be subject to a Writ of Execution.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.