When a party to a divorce or modification is asking the other side to reimburse the fees they have paid their lawyer, it is known as "requesting attorney fees". Ultimately, the judge will decide if the fees charged by the receiving parties
attorney should be paid as an award of the other parties assets.
In our local Southwest courts,Attorney fees are embodied in the Family Code and may be based on the following:
- The value of Legal Services Rendered
- The need of the other party to have such assistance
- The reasonableness of attorney fees
- The ability of the party to assist (pay) the other
Either husband or wife may seek an award of attorney fees although in the past, when women stayed home with the children and father worked, it was more consistent to see the wife awarded attorney fees. When the father is the low earner however, or is a homemaker, in need of help with his attorney fees, he may be entitled to help as a wife would in the same situation.
If you are the spouse who is being asked to pay attorney fees, there may be a need to negotiate or settle this outside of court. Typically this area of divorce can be emotional, especially in a bitter divorce. For instance, the feeling of having to swallow the entire cost of litigation due to being the higher wage earner can be difficult, at the least. A well qualified
divorce attorney will recognize that emotions are heightened by this issue. However, the issue of attorney fees can often be decided by the Judge when not voluntarily paid.
Attorney fees can be decided by the Family Law judge and can be compensated to the low earner in form of a percentage. For example, Southwest family law courts have in the past awarded some favorable attorney fees to clients. Typically, county schedules recommend spousal support in the 40 to 75 % range.
The courts may award attorney fees at each motion in which attorney fees are presented in proper format. For instance, after an emergency protective order/restraining order hearing, the judge can award a modest or reasonable fee to the divorce attorney . In other instance the judge may defer an award of fees until after trial or a later date.
When meeting with a Divorce attorney, discuss your need for attorney fees at the onset. Your divorce or family law attorney at the Law offices of Richard K. Isles will discuss what collection efforts can be made to ask for payment of attorney fees.
If facing the need to retain a Family Law attorney, call the
Temecula Divorce law offices of
Richard K. Isles for an educated and informed consultation.