Respond to a request for attorney's fees

If you were served with a Request for Order (form FL-300) asking for attorney’s fees and costs, this means that you have a court date where a judge may order you to pay for your spouse, domestic partner, or child's other parent's lawyer’s fees.  

If you don’t respond, the court may make a decision without your input. You can respond by filling out and filing forms with the court.  

Understand what information the judge considers to make a decision

A judge will consider:  

  • Your income and needs 
  • If one of you has more access to money 
  • If you can pay for both lawyer’s fees 

In your forms, talk about these issues to help the judge understand your side. The judge can order you to pay all, some, or none of the attorney fees.  

If you have a lawyer, the lawyer will usually complete the forms for you. Check with them to make sure. 

How to respond to a request for lawyer’s fees

  • Fill out forms

    Fill out two forms 

    1. Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (form FL-320

    Tells the judge and your spouse or your child's other parent if you agree or disagree with the request and why. 

    For attorney’s fees and costs, fill out items 6 and 10.  

    In item 10 “Facts to Support” explain, by giving facts, your position. If you need more space, check the box that says “Attachment 10.” You can use Attached Declaration (form MC-031) to write the facts that support your response.  

    Write down the facts, not just opinions, that support what you’re telling the court. If there is a document that supports what you say (like a receipt, bill, or letter from your employer), attach that to your response. 

    For example: 

    • You write that your income is less than what your spouse says because your boss reduced your overtime hours. You can then attach a letter from your boss saying that they reduced overtime for everyone because business slowed. 

    • You write that you can’t afford that amount of fees because you have high medical expenses. You can explain what the medical costs are and then bring the bills or receipts (along with copies) to the hearing. 

    Be sure to black out any private information like a Social Security number or account numbers.

    1. Supporting Declaration for Attorney’s Fees and Costs Attachment (form FL-158

    This form asks some of the same questions as the previous one: if you agree or don’t agree with your spouse’s request and if you have facts that support your reasons for disagreeing with the request. Even though some of the items may seem repetitive, fill it out completely. 


    If the other person in your case asked for more than one thing in their Request for Order (form FL-300),

     like child custody or something else, use just one form to respond to all of their requests. Learn more about how to use the form on Information Sheet: Responsive Declaration to Request for Orders (form FL-320-INFO). 

  • Fill out the Income and Expense Declaration

    Use the Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150). 

    This form asks questions about your job, what you earn, and how you spend your money. 

    You need to attach proof of your income from the past two months to the form. 

    You don’t need to attach a copy of your last year’s taxes, but you do need to bring a copy to your court date. 

  • Attach documents to support your case

    illustration of gathering documentation

    Sometimes it's important to have documents that support your case.  If you have any, you can attach copies or file these with your request so the judge can consider them at the hearing.

    • Examples of documents that support your might include things like a receipt, bill, or letter from your employer
    • Black out any private information like a Social Security number or account numbers
    • If there is a witness (someone who saw or personally knows something), you can ask them to write and sign a statement that says what they know. Learn more about witness statements.

    If you don't have these ready now, you can file them later.

  • Make copies of your forms

    After you’ve filled out, signed, and dated both forms, make 2 copies of the forms.  

  • File your forms

    illustration of gathering documentation

    To file your forms with the court, give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk. The clerk will keep the original and will stamp the copies and return them to you. 


    Yes. Send the original and 2 copies to the attention of the clerk. You need to include a self-addressed stamped envelope so the clerk can mail your copies back to you. If you don’t, you will have to go to the courthouse to pick up your copies. 
    Some courts allow online filing (called e-filing). You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website.

Respond to a Request for Order

What's next

Once you’ve filed the forms, the next step is to serve the forms to your spouse, domestic partner, or child's other parent. You can serve these by mail.

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