C.T. v. K.W.Annotate this Case
The parties’ son was born in November 2018. Mother initiated a claim for child support. Testing established father’s paternity. and a stipulated judgment entered. In February 2019, father requested protective orders under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and sought sole custody, submitting evidence of mother’s repeated online cyberstalking and harassment. Criminal charges were filed against mother. Much of the harassing behavior involves the child. In March 2019, the court awarded father sole custody of the child. Proceedings on the domestic violence restraining order were stayed pending resolution of felony charges against mother. In August 2020, the court denied mother’s request to modify custody and continued her supervised visitation.
In connection with requests for modification of the custody and visitation orders, mother requested attorney fees. Following a hearing, the court denied mother’s request for fees, noting that father had not exhibited any conduct to warrant a sanction-based award. Other statutes apply only to married parties and were inapplicable; there has been no finding that father made false allegations of child abuse. Mother is not the prevailing party in an action to enforce an out-of-state custody order. The court of appeal reversed in part. Mother may be entitled to attorney fees under Family Code 7605, which requires a court to “ensure that each party has access to legal representation to preserve each party’s rights,” using the appropriate needs-based criteria.