Articles Posted in Attorney’s Fees

Custody battles are often contentious, and parties can have strong reactions if a Judge issues a ruling they deem unfavorable. Merely because a Judge finds in one party’s favor does not mean that they harbor a bias, however, and parties that unjustly accuse a Judge of being partial to their opponent may be sanctioned. As demonstrated in a recent California ruling issued in a custody dispute, however, the California Family Code does not permit the Courts to sanction attorneys for the conduct of their clients. If you are embroiled in an argument over child custody, it is wise to meet with a skilled San Diego child custody lawyer to assess your options.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and the father had a child in 2019. The mother then filed a petition seeking primary physical and joint custody of the child. During the hearing on the matter, the Judge expressed concern that the mother seemed to believe she was in control of custody and could determine when the father saw the child. The Judge granted an interim custody order to allow the mother to hire an attorney.

Allegedly, the mother then retained counsel and filed a motion to disqualify the Judge. The Judge warned her that her refusal to answer questions regarding visitation could lead to sanctions. The mother then submitted a proposed judgment. The father objected to the judgment on the grounds that it did not comply with the Judge’s previously entered order, and the Judge agreed, ruling in the father’s favor. The issue of sanctions arose again due to the mother’s continuous filing of late motions without notice. The Judge ultimately ordered sanctions against the mother and her attorney pursuant to California Family Code Section 271. The mother then appealed. Continue reading

The assistance of a good attorney is can be crucial to achieving a good outcome in divorce actions. Parties cannot always afford to hire capable attorneys, however. Fortunately, California law allows parties to ask the courts to order their estranged spouse to pay their attorneys’ fees while the divorce is pending. If a court refuses to weigh such a request, it may unjustly prejudice a party, as demonstrated in a recent California ruling. If you have questions about the cost of pursuing a divorce, it is smart to talk to a dedicated San Diego divorce attorney about your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in 2005 and separated in 2017. They did not have any children. In 2018, the wife filed a petition for dissolution of marriage. The issues presented to the Court were solely financial. The wife represented herself when filing the petition but later retained an attorney who made a request for pendente lite attorney fees, among other things. The Court scheduled the hearing on the issue of fees for June 2018, but it was continued numerous times.

Allegedly, a second attorney briefly represented the wife, but he withdrew, and she once again represented herself. The Court entered a judgment of dissolution in September 2019 and ruled on reserved issues two months later. The wife retained an attorney in April 2020, and the Court issued a final judgment in February 2021 in which it denied her request for attorneys’ fees. The wife appealed the judgment. Continue reading

Generally, parties engaged in family law disputes are required to pay for their own attorneys. In some family law matters, however, they may be entitled to recover attorneys’ fees from the opposing party. The grounds for ordering one party to pay another’s legal fees were the topic of an opinion issued by a California court earlier this month in a custody case. If you need help with a custody dispute, it is advisable to consult a capable San Diego child custody lawyer to evaluate what measures you can take to protect your parental rights.

The Factual Background

Reportedly, the mother gave birth to a son in November 2018. She then instituted a child support claim against the father. The father’s paternity was established via genetic testing, after which the court entered a stipulated judgment. The father subsequently sought sole custody of the child and a protective order against the mother, arguing she engaged in harassment and cyberstalking.

Are you going through a divorce? Trust the divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC to be there with you every step of the way. From child custody, child support, spousal support to division of assets and debts, we can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney.

What should I expect at my consultation?

If you are thinking of hiring a lawyer to represent you in your divorce case, it is important to first schedule a consultation with the attorney. An in-person consultation is the best way to get to know your potential attorney, as well as the office and environment, understand how the process works, and make an informed decision.

The San Diego divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC practice in all aspects of family law, including divorce, legal separation and paternity cases. We offer a free consultation at our office in Rancho Bernardo. During the consultation, we will provide you with legal advice and analysis to try to help you obtain your goals and protect your rights.

We represent clients in family law court in all of the court houses in San Diego County including downtown, Vista, Chula Vista and El Cajon. If you choose to retain our attorney services, we are a full-service family law firm, and can offer you full-scope representation.

To learn more about how we can help you, call today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney.

Don’t go through your divorce, legal separation or paternity case alone. Call the San Diego divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Doppelt and Forney, APLC. We are here to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

It is not uncommon for people in family court to represent themselves, but there are risks that come with self-representation.

People who divorce without the expertise of an attorney may put themselves at greater risk for mistakes, delays and added stress. The biggest risk would, of course, be losing your case.

Sometimes, divorce cases are extremely contentious. Sometimes, a party will make extremely incendiary and potentially damaging allegations, even though the courts would later declare that “not one iota of proof” supported those claims. Even when facing unfounded claims, it is important to take them seriously, retain counsel, and contest them aggressively. If the courts conclude, as they did in the recent case of one California father, that your ex-spouse purposely prolonged the case and delayed resolution, you may be entitled to an order demanding that your ex-spouse pay some of your attorney’s fees.

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In most divorce cases, one party will seek some amount of monthly spousal support. However, it is not automatically granted to the requesting spouse. In fact, eligibility for spousal support is dictated in large part by statutory provisions. Under Section 4320 of the California Family Code, courts are required to review a list of specified factors in order to determine whether (and to what extent) spouses are entitled to financial maintenance in divorce. Since the judge’s decision as to support will likely affect the parties’ financial status going forward, it is extremely important that you consult with an experienced San Diego family law attorney who will work to protect your interests and legal rights.

A recent case illustrates the significance of understanding how the Family Code applies to a party’s request for spousal support in divorce. Here, the couple began living together (in the wife’s home) prior to their marriage. While they both contributed to living expenses, the wife owned the house separately. The husband had given the wife a wedding ring valued at $40,000, and the couple got married in January 2006. She is a physician, and he worked, until 2007, as a human resources manager at Home Depot. He was laid off from his job in 2008. Once the parties were married, the wife signed a deed granting title to the house to the husband, for the alleged purpose of refinancing the home at a better interest rate. He later re-conveyed the house to himself and the wife as “joint tenants.”

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The length of a divorce proceeding certainly varies from case to case. Some of the more common factors that tend to affect the duration of a divorce matter include the relative contentiousness of the spouses, whether there are children involved, the amount of assets and debts to be characterized and divided, and the involvement of highly experienced family law counsel. The last item, consulting with an attorney, is especially helpful to protect one’s financial and legal rights, while at the same time moving the process along as efficiently as possible under the circumstances. Since each state has its own marriage and divorce laws, it is important to reach out to an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.

In protracted divorce cases, in which the parties spend a great deal of time litigating the issues, courts may require one party to assist the other in paying attorney fees. Under Section 2030 of the California Family Code, the court will look at whether an award of attorney’s fees and costs is appropriate, whether the parties have a disparate access to funds to retain counsel, and whether one party has the ability to pay for the legal representation of both spouses.

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It may come as no surprise that family law cases, and especially divorce proceedings, sometimes bring out the least favorable qualities in the parties involved. Part of this is due to the nature of divorce, which happens when the couple is separating and choosing to live apart. In an ideal situation, spouses work together to resolve these issues efficiently and amicably so that they both can move forward in their lives. In cases in which one or both parties acts in a manner that frustrates the litigation of legal issues to be resolved, family courts have the authority to impose sanctions as a “tool” to reduce these unnecessary delays. One of the best ways to ensure that your case moves along as efficiently and amicably as possible is to consult with an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.

Under Section 271 of the California Code, “courts may base an award of attorney’s fees and costs on the extent to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation . . .” In a recent California divorce case, the court reviewed the husband’s appeal, in which he claimed (among other things) that the trial court should not have sanctioned him $7,500 because the wife failed to give proper notice of sanctions, and there was insufficient evidence of the purported misconduct that allegedly gave rise to the award.

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