California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division
APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of San Diego County No. DV037475, Edlene C. McKenzie, Patricia Guerrero, Judges.
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Carl M. Hancock for Appellant.
Sina Faton, in pro. per., for Respondent.
Bashar Ahmedo appeals from an order requiring him to pay attorney fees incurred by Sina Faton to obtain a domestic violence restraining order against him. He asserts the fee award was improper because the fees were not requested in a timely or proper manner and they were unsupported by the evidence. We reject these contentions and affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
As we shall detail below, Ahmedo and Faton initially represented themselves in the proceedings before the trial court, which solely concerned the issue of a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO). The trial court granted a DVRO against Ahmedo; Ahmedo subsequently obtained counsel and filed a motion for reconsideration; and after reconsidering the matter the court reissued the DVRO against Ahmedo. Faton-who retained counsel when Ahmedo filed his reconsideration motion-thereafter filed a motion for attorney fees under Family Code section 6344, which was granted by the trial court.
On appeal, Ahmedo challenges the attorney fees order. Faton has not filed a respondent's brief. The record on appeal does not include all of the relevant court orders and hearing transcripts, but the pertinent factual and procedural background is generally ascertainable.
The Court's Grant of the DVRO
Ahmedo and Faton were in a dating relationship for about two years, which included periods of cohabitation. On July 30, 2013, Faton filed a DVRO request against Ahmedo. Faton was representing herself and she left blank the section of the standard DVRO petition form (Judicial Council form DV-100) providing for a request of attorney fees. The court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and set the matter for hearing on August 14, 2013. Regarding attorney fees, the TRO (issued by the court on form DV-110) states: "Not ordered now but may be ordered after a noticed hearing." (Italics added.)
On August 7, 2013, Ahmedo filed an opposition to Faton's DVRO request; requested his own restraining order against Faton; and obtained a TRO against Faton. Also representing himself, Ahmedo left blank the section of the form (DV-120) concerning attorney fees.
At the hearing on August 14, 2013, the court issued two orders: (1) an order granting Faton a one-year DVRO against Ahmedo (the First DVRO), and (2) an order dismissing Ahmedo's TRO against Faton on the basis that it was retaliatory. The order granting Faton's First DVRO request is not included in the appellate record. The standard form order dismissing Ahmedo's TRO states attorney fees are "[n]ot applicable."
Thereafter, Ahmedo retained counsel and filed a motion for reconsideration. In response, Faton also retained counsel to represent her. At a hearing on October 16, 2013, the court granted Ahmedo's reconsideration motion and set the matter for a de novo evidentiary hearing on December 31, 2013, with a three-hour time estimate.
At the conclusion of the December 31 de novo evidentiary hearing (where both parties were represented by counsel), the court again granted Faton a one-year DVRO against Ahmedo (the Second DVRO). The standard-form order (DV-130) used for the Second ...