Here, Appellate Court Determined Record Showed Financial Gulf Such That Fee Recovery Was Mandatory, Remanding To Determine Amount Of Fees To Be Awarded To Ex-Wife.
In Marriage of Morton, Case Nos. F073689/F074243 (5th Dist. Sept. 26, 2018; reposted for corrected version on Oct. 1, 2018) (partially published; fee discussion published), the Fifth District concluded that amendments to Family Code section 2030, the “needs-based” fee provision, require lower court to make explicit findings on the need factors set forth in section 2030(a)(2) and then require a mandatory fee recovery if those factors show a financial disparity or inability to pay by the moving dissolution litigant. The findings can be in writing or made orally on the record. In this instance, the findings were not made, so that left the remedy on appeal—either a remand to make the findings or remand to determine the amount of fees to be awarded to ex-wife. The Court of Appeal concluded that the record clearly showed disparity/lack of an ability to pay, so that the remand was made to determine the amount of fees to ex-wife plus any fees for winning the appeal as determined in the discretion of the lower court.