How To Request Attorney Fees During Divorce | California Divorce | Santa Clarita Divorce
Good morning! This is Tim Blankenship with divorce661.com.
And today we are talking about how to request attorney’s fees and why you may want to request attorney’s fees when going through divorce.
So, many times we’ll handle divorce cases here with our firm that are amicable and no need for an attorney, sometimes these cases may become “un-amicable” at some point, if that’s the word.
And you may need to get an attorney for one reason another.
Other times people start with me to get as much paperwork done as possible at a lower cost before going out and hire an attorney.
Either case, if you fall into any of those circumstances and you need to get attorney’s fees, this is how you’re going to do it and why you may need it.
I’ve had several cases where one of the spouses hasn’t had no access to money. Either because they never had access to the accounts or in this particular circumstances, as soon as they knew that there was going to be a divorce filed, the working spouse either close the accounts or remove all the money from the account so the spouse has no money to hire an attorney if she even or he even wanted to.
Going as far as even changing the direct deposit account that the money is going into and leaving some of these clients with no access to money whatsoever.
So, of course, they get scrapped some money together to get started with me, so we can the case filed for divorce. But then, then what? Then they need to get an attorney especially if the other party gets one themselves.
So, what you’d want to do in this case is file a motion, you can either file an ex-party motion for attorney’s fees or you can go in on a regular motion and set a court date out 45 to 60 days from the day of file, but many cases you’re going to need to go on ex-party because you’re going to need to get money as soon as possible or ask the court to make an order for attorney’s fees as fast as possible so you can have access to legal representation, again this is if you need to go the attorney route.
So, this would be done on a request for order, prior known as a order to show cost. This is the FL-300, request for order.
And on the second page there is a box where you can request attorney’s fees and cost.
Now, what are the requirements and guidelines and when will this be ordered? That’s a great question. That is for the judge to determine. But I was speaking with an attorney the other day who said he was recently at a meeting with some of the judges. They’re talking about different things about the court, and then they were saying they don’t know why more folks who either represent themselves or with an attorney aren’t requesting an attorney’s fees because they’re ready, willing and able to ward attorney’s fees in these cases where people request them.
So a couple of the guidelines where you might find that this be ordered is in cases where there’s no absolutely income earned by the spouse and no access to money, and the other spouse has the ability to pay – that would be one reason that the court or the judge may order attorney’s fees.
So, it really boils down to that, having equal access to money to hire an attorney. Now, if the parties make the same amount of money, probably won’t have a chance of getting it.
If there is double income earners, if you make $50, your husband makes $100, perhaps there may be an order for attorney’s fees but maybe it will be a smaller amount.
Now, you can ask for whatever amount you want, you know, $5000, $10,000, $2,500 – whatever the case may be, but when you go to that hearing, it’s going to be up to the judge to order how much and it’s going to be up to the judge how that is paid.
So, here, it becomes an issue. We’ve had cases where people where have had no orders for attorney’s fees and costs, but then they ordered the payments – so let’s say, it was $5000, in small increments of let’s say $200 a month payable to the other party’s attorney.
So, here’s the issue: you now have an order for attorney’s fees, but they’re payable in increments of $200 a month. How are you going to hire an attorney and tell them “Hey, I have a new order for attorney’s fees of $5000 but you’re not going to get paid except for $200 a month.” Good luck finding an attorney that will accept a retainer of $200 to get your case started.
So start bringing that up.
Hope this will get you started if you’re representing yourself and you need to get some attorney’s fees, we can help you file the motion, we can help you go an ex-party, and get the money you need to hire an attorney if that’s what you need to do.
My name is Tim Blankenship, divorce661.com . 661-281-0266, and as always, thanks again for reading!