Family Code 2030 Brings Fairness to California Divorces
Family Code (FC) 2030 (a) to (d) enables a party without financial resources to have an “equal” playing field. Access to representation and preservation of each spouse’s rights is critical. This code section applies to divorces, annulment or legal separation cases...
Disparity and ability to pay by one party for both attorney feesIf the court finds that there is disparity and ability to pay by one party for both attorney fees, the court must make an attorney fee and costs order. This code sections allow a self-represented party who does not have the financial ability to hire an attorney to ask the court to order the other party to pay for the fees. The code allows the court to award attorney fees and costs for legal services before or after the case commences.
The court can increase or modify the initial attorney fee award it made. The court can do this if it reasonably necessary to prosecute or defend the proceeding, and any related proceeding and even after an appeal's conclusion.
The court can even award fees against a non-party but is limited to the amount "reasonable necessary to maintain or defend the action on the issues relating to that party."
The court's job is to equitably divide the litigation's overall cost between the parties.FC also states that just because the person requesting fees has the "resources" to pay his or her own attorney's fees does not automatically mean he or she will not get an award for it from his or her spouse. The code states that it is just one factor. The court's job is to equitably divide the litigation's overall cost between the parties.
In fact, FC 2032 can order attorney fees/costs from "any type of property" whether community or separate principal or income. Divorce and family law cases are not suppose to allow one spouse who has significantly more income or access to money to "overcome" the other party who has lesser or no financial means.