A 'needs based' request for attorney's fees must relate to actual fees incurred to hire an attorney. As you seem to be self-represented, the judge would not be able to grant your request unless you could show that you did hire an attorney.See question
The most important thing is to be as prepared as you can. You do need to have a MSC brief with you because this document allows the MSC judge to understand your side of the case. Yes, you should contact the MSC judge and the other party's attorney and let them know you will be bringing the brief with you. It's not as good as providing it early, but it's better than not having a brief at all.
Here is the link for the form on the San Diego County Website. http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/SDCOURT/GENERALINFORMATION/FORMS/FAMILYANDCHILDRENFORMS/D246.PDF
Ideally, you should have an attorney (not a paralegal) review your brief before the MSC. If you're pressed for time, then just do your best. However, most of the MSC judges (because they do volunteer their time, which is very valuable) are committed to helping self-represented litigants achieve a result that is consistent with the law. So do your best to allow the MSC judge to see your side of the story by bringing your brief with you. Otherwise, the MSC judge will only have your spouse's brief as a written reference or may need to continue the MSC conference. It's often difficult for the courts to find MSC judges to volunteer time, so try to be respectful of this opportunity and do the best you can.See question