Attorneys can be expensive, no way to sugar-coat that. But in addition to expensive, a solid attorney is often invaluable to your interests in a family law case. California law is complex and constantly changing, and the only way to set yourself up for success is to have a team advocating for you who know the law and how it works for or against your desired divorce outcome. THE ZHOU LAW GROUP APC is proud to be that team.

But how can I afford it, aside from my independent income? There are ways!

The California Family Code is not only complex, it is also clear: parties in a case have a right to a “level playing field” when it comes to their participation in a family law matter (California Code of Civil Procedure § 2030). This means that in the state of California, to the extent possible, no party should be unable to participate adequately in their own dissolution just because their financial situation is far less impressive than their soon-to-be former spouse’s. When certain criteria are met, the court may order the other party to pay YOUR fees, based on financial need (California Code of Civil Procedure § 271) or the conduct of the party(ies) during litigation (California Code of Civil Procedure §§§ 721, 100, 2100).

Do any of these situations sound familiar to you?

  • You are a stay-at-home parent, and your spouse was the sole income earner;
  • You earn an income, but it is drastically lower than your partner’s;
  • You and your partner or spouse have a like income, but your partner’s access to valuable liquid assets is greater than yours;
  • The opposing party’s behaviors have complicated or drawn out the legal proceedings unnecessarily, and are draining you dry as a result.

If any of these apply to your situation, inquire with THE ZHOU LAW GROUP APC about the possibility of seeking an attorney’s fees order to your benefit.

Another concern we hear often as family law attorneys often goes as follows: “My spouse is misrepresenting or underreporting their income and assets! I should not be on the hook for the bulk of their attorney’s fees!” Rest assured, if this is the case, there are also options to investigate and/or trace your spouse’s true earnings and market value. THE ZHOU LAW GROUP APC is here to help you with that undertaking. See our previous blog re: discovery. The opposing party is also not immune to legal consequences (including monetary sanctions) for bad behavior just because they have less money than you do. We encourage you to ask about how the law protects you and what you’ve built for yourself.

Ultimately, the responsibility still lay with the client to pay his or her attorneys as contracted to, but the silver lining amidst the high cost is that there may be avenues to having these fees covered or reimbursed by the opposing party where the law allows.