Understanding Family Code 2030 In California Divorces

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmCalifornia Family Code section 2030 helps ensure that a fair trial is conducted during a divorce in California by enabling a means of seeking attorney’s fees on the basis of need to be able to afford legal representation. The section has been designed for both the husband and wife to have equal access to family law courts during legal representation. Couples in California sometimes fail to understand the code and some that do tend to misuse it.

What does it cover?

The Family Code 2030 contains initial applications that couples require for attorney fee and post-judgement modifications. Family court judges play an important role when it comes to considering disparity of earnings between couples. They keep an account of disparities between both parties and to what extent the disparities exist. Code 2030 comes into picture when couples lack the required money to hire attorneys. The amount of money awarded to the couples due to court order may not necessarily depend on how much money the couples can provide. The order depends a lot on the complexity of the issue.  California law courts believe in fair trial and are ready to help couples with a certain amount of money to hire a family judge. Family code 2032 is an extension of code 2030 and allows one party member to cite code 2030 to the judge in case of huge disparity in marital property or assets.

2030 may not be needed by every couple and those that don’t require it should request the court to pay attorney fees directly to the attorney. The fees provided by the court should only be used for hiring a family judge. In some cases, where couples did not require attorney fees ended up spending it before a lawyer could be hired. To avoid such cases, it’s better to let the court know whether attorney fee is required or not.

During attorney fee applications, it is best to address the standard of living during marriage in the supporting declaration. The standard of living should be in adherence to the Family Code 4320.


The Family Code 2030 is helpful for individuals who are unable to hire family lawyers to defend their case in a divorce proceeding. Disparities are common and exist between many couples. Code 2030 considers the disparities and provides a substantial amount to the individuals. The amount of money depends on how complex and serious the issue is and has little to do with the amount of disparity between the couples.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

How To Seek Attorney Fees In Your Divorce Case

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmA number of situations can crop up when a judge could order one spouse to pay the lawyer’s fees of the other spouse. When it comes to separations or divorces, a domestic partner or a spouse can make the request to the court at the start of the case. Examples exist of a number of other family law cases where one side has asked for lawyer’s fees from the other even if parties concerned are neither in domestic partnership or are married. Such examples include visitation and custody cases where parents of the child are entwined in marriage. There can also be domestic violence cases.

The third kind of situation also exists where one spouse or a party can request the judge to order other spouse or party to pay sanction (penalty or fine) for doing a thing which can be regarded as unethical or illegal.

Before you request the judge to order your spouse or other side to pay all or part of the lawyer’s costs and fees, there is a necessity to request a court hearing. You must explain the reasons for asking such a request.

If you want to request a court hearing to get lawyer fees, you have to fill out two forms: Form FL-158 and Form FL-319. These two will gather a lot of information, any judge must know prior to making a decision. The forms must be filled out accurately and completely. In case you have already hired a lawyer, ask him or her to assist you. To fill up forms accurately, ask your lawyer.  Here are the forms and steps that need to be completed: 

  1. You should fill out the court forms. These includes Request for Order, Income and Expense Declaration, Request for Attorney’s Fees and Costs Attachment and Supporting Declaration for Attorney’s Fees and Costs Attachment. Ensure you use the correct case number.
  2. Have the forms reviewed. This is extremely important before you proceed further
  3. Make minimum two copies of the court forms. One copy for you, other copy for other party, the original for the court.
  4. Then file court forms with court clerk. Get court date.
  5. Serve other party with Request copy
  6. File proof of service
  7. Go to the court hearing

If the judge arrives at a decision, a court order will be made. In some courtrooms, the court staff or clerk will prepare order for the judge to give a signature. In case of other courtrooms, the person who requested the hearing is responsible for the preparation of court order so the judge signs it after review by the other party/attorney.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Cash-less in California: Family law, Divorce and Bankruptcy

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio LawDivorce can sometimes lead to bankruptcy and make divorce an even harder process. Filing for a bankruptcy can be a tedious task if you do it on your own. Getting a bankruptcy attorney is probably a good idea. During divorce, one of you may not have the means of paying the debts. In such cases, bankruptcy can be used in one’s advantage. Bankruptcy is a means by which you can lower your debts and save yourself from spending more than you want to during a divorce. Additionally, filing for bankruptcy is a good idea if you and your partner don’t want debts after your divorce. In California, bankruptcy is dealt seriously.

Divorce and Bankruptcy in California

In California, you and your partner are equally responsible for every debt accumulated during your marriage. The state is not concerned with who accumulated the debt and to what extent. Being a community property state, this law is strictly followed.

Divorce agreements don’t affect creditors and they expect the debts are jointly owned by both you and your spouse. If one of you fails to pay the debts or abscond from payment, creditors can come after your partner. During your marriage if both of you jointly acquired credit card debts but the court orders only one of you to pay, creditors may still hold your other partner liable.

If you jointly file for bankruptcy before you get divorced, many of the debts can be waived. You and your partner are saved from future debt obligations and the burden is also lessened. Also, the remaining debts decrease.

During divorce proceedings, bankruptcy can be a roadblock. It could become a major reason for fights between you and your partner. So, if you file for bankruptcy before your divorce, it eases the process and avoids problems between the both of you.

Bankruptcy and Divorce costs

If you file for bankruptcy along with your spouse before your divorce, the costs are less. This is because the fees are the same for both individual and joint filings. If you hire a bankruptcy attorney, your fees will be lower.

While hiring a bankruptcy attorney individually, you should be careful because one attorney cannot represent the both of you. And in such cases the fees will also increase.  Bankruptcy and divorce costs differ from state to state and from couple to couple.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Understanding California Needs-Based Attorney Fees Orders

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce lawyers in Orange County; The Maggio Law FirmThe California Family Court follows Family Codes sections 2030-2032 to grant an order related to attorney fees. The court makes an award of the fees and costs of hiring an attorney only after it has determined that a party in a divorce case is unable to pay it himself or herself.

Generally, the spouse with the lesser income is awarded an attorney fees order. The court considers it a ‘needs-based’ award. The higher earning spouse pays the costs of hiring a lawyer to the lower-earning spouse who also has little access to money/assets.

Family Code section 2030

Parts of Family Code section 2030 are in place to ensure that both parties in a divorce, annulment, or legal separation get equal access to the court and have legal representation from the very beginning of their case. The court considers the income and the needs to determine who needs an attorney fees order. The court has the sole right to decide the amount necessary to be paid to the other party as fees for the attorney. It also considers all costs needed for retaining the lawyer and litigating the divorce proceedings.

The court will also determine if the party seeking an attorney fee order is right in doing so. It will also consider if it is possible for one party to pay attorney fees for both the parties. If the court finds a huge disparity between the spouses’ abilities to pay attorney fees, the court will grant the order. A person seeking the order will have to approach the court before divorce proceedings begin to inform it that he or she will go unrepresented if not provided with financial help.

Family Code section 2032

Under section 2032 of the Family Code, the court has the right to determine if the request is reasonable or not. It will also want each party to have satisfactory financial resources so that each party’s case is represented properly in the court. The court will follow Family Law section 4320 to determine the circumstances of each party. If the court feels that the party seeking the attorney fees order is capable of paying the fees themselves, it would still consider all circumstances to ensure that the party is being represented fairly and adequately.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

Seeking Sanctions Against Your Spouse in Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

orange county divorce lawyers; The Maggio Law FirmIn California, it is possible for you to seek sanctions against your spouse. You can evoke Family Code section 271 to make such a request. Requests made on the basis of Family Code section 271 are not considered as ‘need-based’ attorney’s fees by the court, but as sanctions for improper conduct in the case.  You can use Family Code section 271 only if you can prove that your spouse has violated the mandates of the code section.

Mandates of Family Code section 271

Family Code section 271 states that the California family court has the right to grant sanctions against a party if one of the spouses or their attorney has intentionally tried to hinder or delay the proceedings of the divorce. The court will also try and encourage the attorneys and the parties to promote cooperation and faster settlement of disputes.

Simply put, Family Code section 271 allows California family courts to penalize certain behavior. If a spouse or the attorney tries to cause unnecessary delay and drive up the litigation costs, the accused spouse will have to pay the attorney fees of the innocent spouse. Attorney fee orders under Section 271 are in the form of a sanction.

Depending on the situation of violation of the Family Code, the court may ask the guilty spouse to pay either full or a part of the innocent spouse’s attorney fees. It also depends on the spouses financial abilities to pay. If it appears that the guilty spouse will find it difficult to meet the ruling of the court, the court will ask for a reasonable amount to be paid to the affected spouse. Even though the court is punishing the violator of a mandate, it would still want the circumstances to be fair and practical to both the parties.

Sanctions against the spouse’s lawyer

Yes it is possible to request for attorney fees against your spouse’s lawyer. Though this is a rarity, there have been instances when such demands have been made. Sometimes it may happen that your spouse’s lawyer will file numerous completely unnecessary documents or useless motions with the court that have no relation with your divorce case.

Getting divorced in California can be complicated.  Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.  

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