Helping Families Navigate The Difficult Road Of Divorce

Requests For Attorney’s Fees Must Be Made On The Correct Forms

Family Court judicial officers are busy – that may be an understatement. Let me put it this way, they are overwhelmed with cases. Because of their caseload, they may not fully do the required analysis in every situation. When you request attorney’s fees the request must be done right.

You can request attorney’s fees using FL-300 Request for Order. With your Request for Order, you will also want to ask your judicial officer for a specific amount. Ideally, you should have an experienced attorney file the request for you with all the required and supporting declarations. If not, you will want to make sure you submit all the required declarations with your request, including an Income and Expense Declaration providing your judicial officer with your financial information.

If you do not file a written declaration, you should fill out Request for Attorney’s Fees and Costs Attachment (FL-319), Supporting Declaration for attorney’s Fees and Costs Attachment (FL-158), and Spousal or Partner Support Declaration Attachment (FL-157). Most attorneys do not include FL-157, but if you are not submitting your declaration with the Request for Order, you should submit this form and fill out all applicable sections.

The Income And Expense Declaration Is Critical For Success When Requesting Attorney’s Fees

A word about Income and Expense Declarations. Even where you are estimating, be as accurate as possible. Go through your bank statements and pay stubs and calculate correctly all your income and expenses. And, do not forget to attach proof of income, whether it is a pay stub or a profit and loss statement. For example, one of the questions on the Income and Expense Declaration asks what you estimate is the other party’s income (Question number 4), you will want to attach a detailed explanation of the reasons supporting your estimate. You can even attach their pay stubs or other documentary evidence. You cannot attach tax returns, but you must bring them with you to the hearing. One thing that you should always keep in mind with Income and Expense Declarations. Never lie. Don’t even intentionally overestimate or underestimate. Judicial officers and experienced family law attorneys can easily pick out inconsistencies and then cross-examine you to get to the truth. Once your credibility with a judicial officer is damaged, it is very very difficult to repair.

Can I Ask For Attorney’s Fees In Post-Decree Matters?

Family Code section 2030 need-based fees can also be awarded in post-judgment modification proceedings. So, if you think you qualify for a modification of child or spousal support, you may be able to get need-based attorney’s fees from your ex-spouse. But, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to see if you can modify support because there are certain requirements that need to be met before you have any hope of a modification.

Need-based attorney fee awards can also be ordered in exclusive custody actions and paternity cases. (Family Code, §§ 3121 & 7605, 7640.) Judicial officers can order need-based attorney fees for custody or visitation proceedings after a judgment has been entered regarding parentage. (Robert J. v. Catherin D. (2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 1392, 1395.)

Get The Help You Need With Family Law Requests

I am Hogan W. Song, a Certified Family Law Specialist, and my practice of law is exclusively limited to divorce and related family law matters. Call my firm, Song Family Law, APLC, in Mission Viejo or Orange at 888-999-0259 to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation. You may also initiate a consultation using my secure website.