One of the main concerns people have when faced with a divorce is how to pay for a lawyer. Often the spouse petitioning for divorce makes all the money and can afford an expensive divorce lawyer while the responding spouse doesn’t have any money they can call their own.
If you are a lesser earning spouse, Family Code 2030 brings fairness to the California divorce process by ordering a higher earning spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees. It is designed to ensure that both the husband and wife have equal access to the family law courts through legal representation.
Divorce and family law cases are not supposed to be a war of attrition such that one spouse who has significantly more income or access to money can beat up the other spouse in the litigation process.
Here are some general tips for the spouse that makes the Family Code 2030 request for attorney fees:
- Hire an experienced family law attorney to make the request on your behalf. It can make a significant difference when the paperwork is done correctly.
- Don’t overreach or understate the need. Ask for a reasonable amount, not high and not low.
- Your declaration should go into your need, the disparity and the other spouse’s ability to pay.
- If you are also receiving support (child support, spousal support or both), factor that into the net disposable income equation. You may tell the Family Court that you want attorney’s fees to be paid from your spouse’s income. But does your spouse also pay you support from that same income? Have you figured out what your net disposable income is compared to your spouse when you factor in support? Is it still very different? Or close to the same?
- Don’t assume income is the only source. Property can be sold to pay for attorney’s fees. Accounts can be accessed. Stocks can be sold. Home equity lines of credit can be used. These are just a few of many examples.
Our law firm has family law attorneys in Los Angeles county. If you have an Los Angeles County divorce, legal separation or annulment matter, you may contact us for an affordable strategy session.