If you are thinking about filing for divorce, but do not have the money for an attorney, there may exist the possibility of having your spouse pay for you attorney fees. The superior court has jurisdiction to award one party attorney fees and costs in a divorce proceeding. Family Code Section 210.
Two ways exist to get attorney fees from your spouse:
Need-Based: Pursuant to Family Code Sections 2030 and 2032, the court may order the payment of fees and costs as between the parties, based on their “relative circumstances” (the need for attorney fees and the ability to pay) in order to ensure parity of legal representation.
A Sanction (Penalty): Family Code Section 271 provides the court with a powerful weapon to deter flagrant uncooperative conduct in family law proceedings by assessing fees and costs as a sanction. This code section is not used as much as 2030 and need-based attorney fees.