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In re F.

Court of Appeals of Kansas

January 23, 2015

In the Interest of F., A Minor Child

Appeal from Sedgwick District Court; ERIC R. YOST, judge.

SYLLABUS

1. When attorney fees are properly awardable by the court, the amount of fees to be awarded is within the sound discretion of the awarding court.

2. In considering the amount of attorney fees to be awarded, the awarding court should consider the factors set out in Rule 1.5(a) of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct (2014 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 515).

3. K.S.A. 22-4507(c), which sets a general limit of $80 per hour for the compensation of attorneys appointed in criminal cases to represent indigent defendants, does not set a limit on fees in other types of cases. In noncriminal cases, the awarding court determines the fee amount after considering the factors set out in Rule 1.5(a).

Richard A. Macias, of Wichita, for appellant.

Nancy Ogle, of Ogle Law Office, L.L.C., of Wichita, for appellee natural father.

Before BUSER, P.J., LEBEN and STANDRIDGE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1291

Leben, J.:

John and Anne, the adoptive parents of a baby girl, have appealed the $5,222.77 in attorney fees and expenses assessed against them to pay the attorney who represented the biological father whose parental rights were terminated. John and Anne argue that the attorney's fee, based on a $150 hourly rate, should have been reduced to reflect an $80-per-hour rate--the same rate paid in Kansas to attorneys appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants.

But a specific statute, K.S.A. 22-4507(c), provides for that $80-per-hour rate in criminal cases. No statute sets the rate for other cases, and the awarding court determines that rate in its discretion after considering a set of potentially applicable factors. We find no abuse of discretion in the district court's determination of the attorney fee here.

Factual And Procedural Background

With the approval of the birth mother, John and Anne sought to adopt a baby girl born in Wichita on December 31, 2012. The girl's natural father, Lonnie, did not agree to relinquish his parental rights, but the district court terminated his parental rights and granted John and Anne's adoption petition after a contested, 1-day trial. The court concluded that Lonnie had failed without reasonable cause to provide support for the birth mother during the 6-month period before the child's birth, that he was unfit as a parent, that he ...


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