Recent Posts by Tess Reutzel

Is it Possible for my Spouse to Pay My Attorney’s Fees?

There are several methods to use to request that a portion of your attorney’s fees be paid by the other party.

Attorney Fees Generally

A family law court has authority to make attorney fee awards throughout the case. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, and in any proceeding subsequent to entry of a related judgment, the court shall ensure that each party has access to legal representation, including access early in the proceedings, to preserve each party’s rights by ordering, if necessary based on the income and needs assessments, 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. Fam C § 2030(a)(1).

Court’s Ability to Award Attorney’s Fees

Trial courts enjoy broad discretion in...

My Spouse Has Psychological Concerns, Which I Believe are Relevant to a Determination of Child Custody. Can I Obtain Their Psychological Records and Submit it to the Family Court as Evidence?

There are various privileges as to evidence which can be admitted to a court. One of them being the psychotherapist-patient. This prevents communications in a therapist’s office, including the therapist file, from being revealed to anyone other than the client or those who work within the therapist’s office.

Technically speaking as per the Evidence Code, the psychotherapist-patient privilege covers, “confidential communications between patient and psychotherapist.”   Specifically, it includes information obtained by an examination of the patient, that:

  1. Is transmitted in confidence between a patient and the patient’s psychotherapist in the course of that relationship;
  2. Is transmitted by means that, as far as the patient is aware, disclose the information to no third persons other than those who are present to further the patient’s interest in the consultation, or those to whom disclosure is reasonably necessary for transmission of the information or accomplishment...

My Spouse Wants to Retire. Can I Force Them to Continue Working in Order to Receive the Same Amount of Support?

This very same question was asked in Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 CA4th 1373. “If Husband had indeed retired from active employment, could the trial court properly attribute to him a monthly income based on his ability to earn rather than his actual earnings, thus requiring him to work well past the "generally accepted retirement age of 65"?” In re Marriage of Reynolds (1998) 63 CA4th 1373; In re Marriage of Sinks, 204 Cal.App.3d 595. The answer was no. The Reynold court held no one may be compelled to work after the usual retirement age of 65.

The courts have held that a supporting spouse cannot deliberately shirk support obligations by refusing to work. Philbin v. Philbin (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 115. The courts have also held that a supporting spouse cannot retire prematurely in order to avoid paying spousal support. In re Marriage of Sinks, 204 Cal.App.3d...

Can I Move Out of the Country with Our Child? International Relocation (Move Away)

In Re: Marriage of Condon is the leading authority on international move-away cases. In re Marriage of Condon (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 533. Moving out of the country with a child will obviously have a dramatic effect on a child’s relationship with the non-moving parent. Therefore, there are special rules for international move-away cases.

The Court analyzed Burgess and LaMusga in its decision (see prior blog entitled Relocation (Move Away) with a Child), which are the leading cases on move away ases within the United States.

In Condon, the court granted a move-away with Mother to Australia, and four vacations per year with Father. The factors the trial court used in its analysis included Mother’s ability to financially support herself in Australia rather than be wholly dependent on Husband for support; the impact of the parties' stressful relationship on the children; Mother’s extensive family in Australia; the children’s primary emotional...

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