Family Code section 2030 attorney fee award in California

A Family Code section 2030 attorney fee award in California is the topic of this blog post.

There are many self-represented parties in California divorces and that number is increasing each and every year. A self-represented party is also known as an “In Pro Per” or someone appearing “Pro Se”.

Many of these individuals that are involved in divorce litigation in California are not aware that the Courts have the power to order that the other party to the proceeding pay a reasonable amount to allow a party who is representing themselves to retain an attorney in a timely manner before proceedings in the matter go forward.  This procedure can also be used in a legal separation or nullity proceeding in California as well.

The use of this procedure allows a party who is currently representing themselves without an attorney to "level the playing field". And the procedure allows them to make such a request by an oral motion at the time of any trial or hearing. This is very advantageous to many family law litigants as many of them wish to retain an attorney but cannot afford to pay the thousands of dollars most attorneys charge as an upfront retainer.

The relevant statutes are contained in Chapter 3.5 of the California Family Code, sections 2030 through 2034. These statutes can be very useful for a party that does not presently have the funds to retain an attorney and has a pending trial or hearing.

In other words if a prospective client who is currently representing themselves without an attorney wishes to retain an attorney they can ask the Court to order the other party to pay so that they can retain an attorney before any trial or hearing. See California Family Code § 2030(b).

And the Court has the authority to make an attorney fees award without notice by an oral motion at the time of a hearing on the cause of the merits. See California Family Code § 2031(b)(1), and at any time before entry of judgment against a party whose default has been entered pursuant to Section 585 or 586 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The court shall rule on any motion made pursuant to this subdivision within 15 days and prior to the entry of any judgment. See California Family Code § 2031(b)(2).

A California Court of Appeal has also stated that the court has the power to impose additional fees than those requested if it determines that the adverse party failed to cooperate in family law proceedings.

The family law judge has discretion to create a "judicial lien" on community or separate property in order to secure payment of section 2030 fees. See California Family Code § 2032[c].

The California Supreme Court has stated that it is the public policy in California that both spouses have the ability to obtain effective legal representation.

Attorneys or parties in California who wish to view a portion of a sample memorandum of points and authorities with citations to case law and statutory authority, and sample declaration in support of a request for attorney fees in California sold by the author can see below.

Motion for Attorney Fees in Divorce Case for California by Stan Burman on Scribd


Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California divorce document collection containing over 45 sample documents including a sample motion for attorney fees under Family Code section 2030 sold by the author can use the link shown below.

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995 and has created over 300 sample legal documents for sale.

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Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

The materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.