A hotly contested issue in Sacramento family law cases is the pursuit and award of attorney fees. No party enjoys being involved in contested family law cases, and sometimes they feel it is appropriate for the other party to pay for their attorney fees for dragging them through court. Other times, one party feels that they have much less income and ability to pay for their legal costs and they need attorney fees to continue paying for their representation. Regardless of the reason, parties often request need based attorney fees from the Sacramento family court.
Family Code section 2030 clearly states that the Sacramento family court has power to award attorney fees to a party who demonstrates financial need (after comparison of the parties’ respective gross incomes on their income and expense declarations). The requesting party must also show that the other party has the ability to pay. Ability can mean a higher income, and it can also mean access to greater assets if the incomes are relatively comparable. It is important to know that the Sacramento family courts do not order need based attorney fees to “punish” either party. The law clearly requires the Sacramento family court to award section 2030 attorney fees when there is a clear need and the other party has the greater ability to pay. The primary concern of the Sacramento family court is access to legal representation.
If you are involved in a Sacramento family law action and there is a Family Code section 2030 attorney fee issue involved, please give us a call. We can help you understand the issues in your case and evaluate the attorney fee claims in a free half-hour attorney consultation.