Dragones v. Calkins

February 16, 2024

This is the first case to discuss the attorney’s fees statute in the DVPA (Family Code section 6344), after it was amended by 2022 Assembly Bill 2369, which went into effect on January 1, 2023.  “The new statute makes it easier for a prevailing petitioner to obtain fees, and harder for a prevailing respondent to obtain fees.”  In this case, the trial court granted Dragones a DVRO against Calkins in 2022, and Dragones asked the court for DVPA attorney’s fees in 2023, which the court granted, applying the new version of the statute.  Calkins appealed and the Court of Appeal affirmed.  The Court explained that the new version of the statute applies retroactively because that is how family laws generally work.  Plus, the statutory change was procedural so the new version applies to any pending fees request.  Finally, the Court concluded the trial court did not need to consider Dragones’s ability to pay, only Calkins’s, and the amount Calkins had to pay ($6,000) was reasonable.

Restraining Orders

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