THURMAN'S ATTORNEY FEES TIPS
CAL Family Code Section 3652:
Attorney Fees When Modifying Prior Family Court Orders
When a party seeks to modify prior court orders and judgments,
Family Code section 3652 authorizes family court bench officers to award attorney fees to the party
who prevails in those modification proceedings.
This statute is somewhat unusual since ordinarily attorney fees are awarded
based primarily upon need and the ability to pay, where there is a disparity
in income or wealth between the two parties. However, its purpose is a
bit different than when a party is seeking initial orders - here the question
may become whether the modification request was reasonable in light of
the rule that most orders cannot be changed unless and until there has
been a material change in the circumstances that justified the first order.
Often people think something important has changed, but from a burden
of proof standpoint they are mistaken. In those situations the responding
party has perhaps unnecessarily been forced to expend money to defend
themselves and it may be fair that they be reimbursed for those costs.
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
Family Code section 3652
Except as against a governmental agency, an order modifying, terminating,
or setting aside a support order may include an award of attorney's
fees and court costs to the prevailing party.