Articles Posted in Sanctions

Under California law, courts are authorized to “bifurcate” or divide a divorce case into two parts. The first phase would address the status of the marriage (i.e., granting a judgment of divorce as to status only), and the second would tackle and resolve the remaining issues. Often, the outstanding matters are stickier and more complex, giving rise to disagreements between the spouses, thereby extending the process. But there are many ways to reduce the length and expense of a divorce case. An efficient and amicable divorce is in the best interests of all the parties involved. Separating spouses will save time, money, and emotional heartache if they are able to work out some of the more difficult issues to be resolved. One of the best ways to approach the legal intricacies of divorce is to consult with an experienced family law attorney who will work to protect your interests while moving the case along as swiftly as possible.

Parties who wish to proactively resolve issues surrounding their divorce may consider preparing a stipulated judgment. The stipulation (or agreement) may address the “status only” of the parties’ marriage, or it may also include matters of property division, child support and custody, and spousal support, among other things. In a recent California case, the couple signed a stipulated judgment dissolving their marriage. While the stipulation addressed the status only, it also contained language indicating that the couple planned to prepare another stipulation covering a myriad of other unresolved issues in their divorce.

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It may come as no surprise that family law cases, and especially divorce proceedings, sometimes bring out the least favorable qualities in the parties involved. Part of this is due to the nature of divorce, which happens when the couple is separating and choosing to live apart. In an ideal situation, spouses work together to resolve these issues efficiently and amicably so that they both can move forward in their lives. In cases in which one or both parties acts in a manner that frustrates the litigation of legal issues to be resolved, family courts have the authority to impose sanctions as a “tool” to reduce these unnecessary delays. One of the best ways to ensure that your case moves along as efficiently and amicably as possible is to consult with an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area.

Under Section 271 of the California Code, “courts may base an award of attorney’s fees and costs on the extent to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation . . .” In a recent California divorce case, the court reviewed the husband’s appeal, in which he claimed (among other things) that the trial court should not have sanctioned him $7,500 because the wife failed to give proper notice of sanctions, and there was insufficient evidence of the purported misconduct that allegedly gave rise to the award.

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