Post Judgment Sanctions

Parents Cannot Waive Needs Based Attorney Fees When Custody is an Issue

In In Re Marriage of Joseph, a court decided that it has jurisdiction to award attorney fees based on need even if a mediated judgment states that both parties should pay their respective attorney fees if either of them file a modification of custody.

The parties were married for eight years and had three children together. They settled custody through mediation. Their agreement stated each spouse would bear his or her own attorney fees if any requests to modify custody were made after the final custody agreement was entered.

The husband filed a request to have custody modified, because he claimed that his wife was abusing drugs. The family trial court held that it could consider an order requiring the husband to pay the wife’s attorney fees for any requests for modification.

The husband appealed. The appellate court agreed with the trial court. It held that the parents cannot alter the court’s ability to act on behalf of the children. The parents did not have the ability to take away the rights of the children by making an agreement that the court could not order need’s based attorney fees on custody issues.

If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a modification issue such as child support or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, spousal support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.

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