To award attorney's fees to a party, the court must first determine whether the party has or is reasonably likely to have the ability to pay. (Note: the extending case law uses the rule of "parity" to determine whether such fees should be awarded in divorce cases.)
Family Code 271 Sanctions
While taking into consideration a parties' incomes, assets, and liabilities, a court may sanction a party for attorney's fees where the party frustrated and delayed the public policy of the law in favor of settlement of litigation.
Family Code 272 Method of Payment and Enforcement
1) attorney's fees may be made payable in whole or in installments,
2) an attorney or a party may enforce the order,
3) a former attorney who received an order for fees may enforce the order with 10 days notice to former client or successor attorney.
Family Code 273 Government Entities
Attorney's fees shall not be ordered against government entities unless appropriate under CCP 128.5 or FC 271.
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