One remarkable difference between family law cases and other kinds of cases are the fee-shifting statutes-laws that are designed to “even the playing field” by providing attorney fees to the party who has less money.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the people with money win in the court against the people without money. Family law is no different. And while the legislature has made clear that the public policy behind Family Code 2030 is to preserve the rights of the less powerful party, as a practical matter, this is more often the exception rather than the rule.
You can thank unscrupulous family law attorneys who inflate their bills in order to gain advantage. If an attorney produces a bill for $50,000 the courts will often cut it down considerably, as they do not want to encourage litigation. Family law judges are caught in a predicament. If they award attorney fees, they ensure the conflict continues. If they fail to, they are often deciding the case not on the merits, but on who has more money. It’s a bit of a lose-lose for our judicial officers, many of who, contrary to some opinions, often care quite a bit about justice.
The bottom line is that a solid family law attorney can get fees awarded on your behalf if you have less money, and likewise prevent them from being awarded if the other side is being unreasonable. This can make the difference between winning and losing.