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In Re the Marriage of Tahir J. Naim and Jennifer L. Price v. Jennifer L. Price

December 16, 2010

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF TAHIR J. NAIM AND JENNIFER L. PRICE, TAHIR J. NAIM, APPELLANT,
v.
JENNIFER L. PRICE, RESPONDENT.



(Santa Clara County Super. Ct. No. FL091712)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bamattre-manoukian, Acting P.J.

Marriage of Naim and Price

CA6

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

I. INTRODUCTION

In this marital dissolution action, appellant Tahir J. Naim, a self-represented litigant, challenges the trial court's order awarding need-based attorney fees in the amount of $7,149 to his former wife, respondent Jennifer L. Price. For the reasons explained below, we determine that Naim has failed to meet his burden as an appellant to affirmatively demonstrate trial court error. Therefore, we will affirm the attorney fees order.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Our summary of the factual and procedural background of this case is drawn from the limited record on appeal and appellant's opening brief, since no respondent's brief was filed.

After their marriage in 1992, Tahir J. Naim and Jennifer L. Price had a daughter, Anna, who was born in 1995 and currently resides with Price in Texas. Naim and Price separated in 1999 and were "legally divorced" on December 31, 2000. The child support order entered on December 6, 2005, ordered Naim to pay $1,152 in monthly child support. At that time, Naim was employed as an attorney with a gross monthly income of $17,726. Jennifer has a Ph.D in anthropology. Her average monthly income, as reflected in her September 30, 2005 income and expense declaration, was $6,936.

On July 27, 2007, the trial court entered its order granting Price's request that the court decline to exercise its jurisdiction to make a child custody determination in favor of the child custody action then pending in the 345th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas.

Naim filed a motion for modification of the December 6, 2005 child support order on January 11, 2010. In his motion, Naim stated that he had been laid off from his job and was receiving monthly unemployment benefits of $1,800. Due to his reduction in income, Naim requested that his monthly child support obligation be reduced and Price be ordered to seek employment at her earning capacity and pay one-half of the premiums for their daughter Anna's health insurance.

The parties filed additional income and expense declarations in February 2010. Naim's income and expense declaration, filed on February 25, 2010, indicated that he was self-employed as the sole proprietor of a law firm, with average monthly earnings of $11,850 (although his earnings for the previous month were zero). He also stated that he had assets in the total amount of $22,000. Price's February 26, 2010 income and expense declaration stated that she had average monthly earnings of $3,871 and $3 in assets. Both parties also had various amounts of debt.

On March 15, 2010, Naim filed a "responsive declaration to order to show cause or notice of motion" that stated he did not consent to Price's requests concerning child support and attorney fees and costs. (Capitalization omitted.) The record does not include a copy of the order to show cause or motion filed by Price, or any other submission concerning attorneys fees, to which Naim was responding in his March 15, 2010 declaration. Naim also filed, together with his responsive declaration, his request that Price be ordered to pay one-half of Anna's health insurance premiums, travel expenses, and unreimbursed medical expenses. Naim additionally requested that an employment efforts order be imposed on Price and that income of $7,755 be imputed to her. Finally, Naim requested that each party bear his or her own attorney fees and costs.

Naim filed a second declaration on March 15, 2010, in which he expanded his responses in his first March 15, 2010 declaration. Regarding Price's request for attorney fees, Naim stated that he was unable to pay his own attorney fees or Price's attorney fees and he believed that Price had intentionally ...


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