Family Code Section 2030(a)(1) states that each party in a marriage dissolution has the right to legal representation and that the court preserves this right by ordering the party with access to funds to pay the fees of the other party.
Family Code Section 2030(a)(1).: “In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, … of the parties, …, the court shall ensure that each party has access to legal representation to preserve each party’s rights by ordering, …, one party, …, to pay to the other party, or to the other party’s attorney, whatever amount is reasonably necessary for attorney’s fees and for the cost of maintaining or defending the proceeding during the pendency of the proceeding.”
In re Marriage of Borson (1974), 37 Cal.App. 3d 632.
An award of attorney’s fees and costs to a party’s former attorneys in a dissolution of marriage action was not in excess of the trial court’s jurisdiction on the ground where the wife had requested such fees and costs in her personally verified petition for dissolution and had personally alleged she needed the fees and costs and that her husband had the ability to pay them, and her attorneys of record reasonably believed they had implied authority to file the motion.
An attorney has implied authority and needs not obtain express authority to move for an award of attorney fees prior to the filing of a substitution of attorney or formal order of withdrawal as attorney of record. Implied authority is conferred upon said attorney when the Respondent has specifically pled in its petition that it seeks to have the other party pay for the attorney fees and costs incurred in the proceeding.
The Court must award said motion when either party or the community estate have the ability to pay the fees and costs incurred. Such award of the Court is just and proper in that it is made for the benefit of the party and not just the attorney. The Court’s decision in Borson further supports this position as the Court went on to state that a party should not be required to impair its capital to finance a dissolution proceeding.